Media


President U Thein Sein has nominated Deputy Minister for Information U Ye Htut as the new minister for information, in the wake of two ministerial resignations.
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Myanmar’s ministers for information and health have been allowed to retire, state television reported Tuesday, in the country’s second Cabinet reshuffle in two months.
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Burma’s leading media bodies have reached a 16-point agreement to protect media workers and ensure that their legal rights are respected.
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Burma’s state-run English-language daily newspaper will from September be renamed and relaunched as
a joint venture with a private company, the newspaper reported Sunday.
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Members of the Burmese media have rejected a message from President Thein Sein to Parliament on Friday, in which he claimed that local and international journalists share blame for outbreaks of anti-Muslim violence that have marred Burma’s democratic transition.
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Lawyers representing the four jailed journalists and manager of Unity journal on Monday submitted an appeal against their conviction, one of the lawyers told The Irrawaddy.
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The United States, which has made a priority of improving relations with Myanmar, said on Friday it was “very concerned” by reports that four journalists and a newspaper boss were sentenced to 10 years’ hard labor there this month.
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In this week’s Dateline Irrawaddy show—first aired on DVB—panelists discuss a backsliding of press freedoms in Burma, including the imprisonment of journalists for 10 years with hard labor.
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North Korean officials have extended an informal invitation for Burmese journalists to travel to their country and learn about the situation there, journalists say.
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The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) have denounced the sentencing of four journalists and the CEO of Unity Journal to ten years hard labour for reporting the existence of a secret weapons factory in January.
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The Interim Myanmar Press Council said it has requested a meeting with President Thein Sein to discuss the growing threat to media freedom in Burma, while it has also sent letters to several Lower House committees asking lawmakers to look into the situation.
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Myanmar took a giant step away from democracy last week when a court sentenced five journalists to 10 years in prison with hard labor for reporting news that the government did not like. Hard labor was a common punishment during the decades of military rule. After the military junta dissolved itself in 2011, the government of President Thein Sein abolished censorship, began reforms of the news media and freed journalists. It is deeply disturbing that Myanmar is now meting out punishment to reporters for doing their jobs.
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Police in Rangoon say they are planning to visit newspaper offices to confirm the identities of about 50 journalists who are accused of staging an unauthorized protest against President Thein Sein.
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The recent jailing of five media workers from Unity Weekly and the subsequent threats of legal action against reporters by the Burmese government is hindering the free press in the lead-up to the upcoming 2015 national elections, representatives of the Interim Press Council said on Monday.
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About two dozen journalists who staged a silent demonstration in Burma’s former capital will be charged with violating the Peaceful Assembly Act, as will dozens of other journalists who were not participating in the demonstration but attempted to report on it, according to the police.
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Burma’s first private journalism school in more than half a century opened its doors in Rangoon on Monday morning, poised to prepare aspiring reporters for the country’s turbulent media environment.  Courses began on 14 July for 15 students recruited from both private and state-run media houses.
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Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has condemned the 10-year prison sentences handed down to four local journalists and their boss on Thursday, saying the punishments were disproportionate and that she doubted the government’s commitment to media freedom.
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International condemnation of the Burmese government was swift and scathing in the wake of a Magwe court’s decision on Thursday to sentence four reporters and the CEO of Unity Weekly journal to ten years in prison with hard labour after being convicted of revealing state secrets.
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The Pakokku Township Court sentenced four journalists and the CEO of the Unity journal to 10 years imprisonment with hard labor on Thursday for reporting allegations that a Burmese military facility in Magwe Division was being used to manufacture chemical weapons.
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The sentence, handed down by a court in Pakokku Township, will almost certainly have a chilling effect on efforts by Burmese journalists to investigate the often opaque activities of the military or any other issue the government deems too sensitive.
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