Recently, journalists and scholars attended a East-West Center’s 2014 International Media Conference on free press issues in Yangon, Myanmar (formerly Rangoon, Burma). Just a few short years ago, holding such a conference in such a place would be considered unthinkable: a military junta ruled the country, and the state of journalism in Myanmar was considered to be oppressive at best.
But, following constitutional reforms in 2011, democracy is slowly coming to the southeast Asian country, and press is starting to open up. Despite these changes, journalists are still being harassed, detained and arrested by the government simply for doing their jobs, just as they were under military rule.
We wonder: have things really changed?
Joining the University of Missouri’s Global Journalist program to discuss this are Ethan Zuckerman, the director of MIT’s Center for Civic Media; Glenn Van Zutphen, the founder and managing director of VanMedia Group, a media consultancy firm; and Maureen Aung-Thwin, the director of the Open Society Foundations’ Burma Project. All three spoke at the media conference, and share their thoughts on the state of journalism in Myanmar.