16 media and CSOs object to some points in information minister’s opening speech

NAYPYITAW (Eleven Media Group/ANN) - Sixteen local media and CSOs objected to some points in Information Union Minister Pe Myint’s opening speech to the 7th Conference on Media Development in Myanmar with the conference title “Building Effective Partnerships in Myanmar’s Media Development” focussing on legislation, freedom, safety and sustainability of the media at ParkRoyal Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw on December 5. 

Sixteen local media and CSOs objected to some points in Information Union Minister Pe Myint’s opening speech to the 7th Conference on Media Development in Myanmar with the conference title “Building Effective Partnerships in Myanmar’s Media Development” focusing on legislation, freedom, safety and sustainability of the media at ParkRoyal Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw on December 5. 
The State-owned media will remain in the future whatever government takes office as it plays crucial role in discharging the major duty of serving a bridge between government and people, said Union Minister Pe Myint.
Sixteen local media and CSOs pointed out that the point the Union Minister mentioned goes against democratic values of a democratic nation. The fourth branch of a democratic country is media. The media is a foundation to maintain democratic values and democratic human society and its main duty is to be in command of three branches of the country. Government doesn’t need to be responsible for media. If a country releases news, it is like a propaganda campaign. The State-owned media is not possible to criticize the government for its wrong acts.
The journalists should try to escape from the clutches of those who influence on them financially. It should be thought of how much editors go against the influence of the producer and how much producers go against the influence of the financial supporters. It is required to think of who is responsible for editorial policy or editorial independence. Where is editorial policy, in the hands of editors or not? No editorial policy means no freedom of press or no freedom of expression, said Union Minister Pe Myint.
 With regard to the point the Union Minister mentioned, sixteen local media and CSOs revealed that the minister should say he feared propaganda media supporting the current government and Tatmadaw (defence services) and spending government budget would remain in the future.
The Union Minister mentioned that journalists must have the spirit of loving nation and national spirit as they were citizens. In this regard, the 16 media and CSOs pointed out that the points the Union Minister uttered were obstacles to journalistic codes of conduct. Journalism is a global subject and it has nothing to do with the national concern of a country.
The Union Minister said no transparency was found in the report on declining press freedom indexes in Myanmar compiled by local and foreign organizations. Bias was carried in the report, too. 
 Regarding the point the Union Minister highlighted, the statement of the 16 media and CSOs indicated that the Union Minister turned a blind eye to clarifications of research technique and actual fact findings of the report. Only if the Union Minister accepts reality, can a solution to a problem of decreasing press freedom indexes.
The speech of the Union Minister to the 7th Conference on Media Development in Myanmar went against the objectives of the conference, according to the statement of the 16 media and CSOs.
The organizations of releasing the statement included the Article 19, the Myanmar Media Development Center, the Freedom of Expression Myanmar, the Myanmar Journalist Network, the PEN Myanmar and the Committee for Protecting Myanmar Journalists. 

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