Mar 122014

YANGON (March 9, 2014) – In a speech given in conjunction with the East-West Center’s International Media Conference on “Challenges of a Free Press” this week in Yangon, Myanmar, Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi today addressed press freedom issues in both emerging and developed democracies. (Watch the video of her talk.)

Photo: Allison Wrabel, Missouri School of Journalism

Click on the image to view the video
Photo: Allison Wrabel, Missouri School of Journalism

The democracy advocate, who spent years under political house arrest but is now an elected member of the national assembly, discussed how the media plays a key role in Myanmar’s political transition.

Noting that a long journey lies ahead for the country, she said: “We would like our media to help us in this quest to lay the foundations for a society, for a nation, which is not just for us, today, but for generations to come.”

Without a free press to check those who are in power, she said, “we will not be able to defend the rights and freedoms of the people. But at the same time, this press has to be aware not just of its great power and influence, but of the great responsibility that it bears for the building of a new nation that is centered on the will of the people.”

She cautioned that the press has an inherent obligation to its citizens and should not shirk its duties to the public. “Greater freedom demands greater responsibility,” she said. “It is one of my greatest concerns that people not look upon democracy as a system that gives unlimited rights to them but does not demand equal responsibility back.” Continue reading »

Mar 122014

YANGON (March 10, 2014) – U Ye Htut, Myanmar’s deputy minister of information and presidential spokesman, spoke to attendees of a landmark international media conference here on the evolution of the press in his country following ongoing political reforms. “It is the media that empowers citizens to make informed decisions, required to achieve democratic reforms in our society,” he said.

U Ye Htut

Photo by Ninh Pham, Missouri school of Journalism

U Ye Htut said Myanmar is becoming more open to the press, both foreign and domestic. He said more than 20 news agencies have opened up bureaus in the country, and that the first privately owned daily newspapers began appearing on newsstands last year after a more than 50-year absence.

He said Myanmar’s domestic media face a series of challenges, including continued mistrust between the government and the press.

“Most of the government ministries are reluctant to share their information with the press and the public,” he said. He noted his ministry is working with others in the government on developing guidelines for dealing with the media, and he hoped that increased transparency would alleviate that mistrust.

Another challenge, he said, is the scant opportunities for journalism training programs. He said that NGOs and various foreign governments are working with the media in Myanmar to develop training for young journalists to help improve the standard of journalism. Continue reading »

Feb 132014

Admission to special pre-conference luncheon
will be included with full conference registration

ASSK-300Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi will address “Challenges of a Free Press in Emerging and Established Democracies” on Sunday, March 9 at a special pre-conference luncheon in connection with the upcoming East-West Center International Media Conference in Yangon.

Suu Kyi, who was elected to parliament after being released from years of political house arrest in 2010 amid Myanmar’s dramatic social and political opening, will also announce the launch of her new Suu Foundation, dedicated to education and healthcare in Myanmar.

Admission to the private luncheon will be included with full registration for the conference, and registered participants will receive information on how to RSVP for the luncheon, scheduled for 11 am on March 9.

There’s still time to register and make travel plans for the conference, which runs from March 10 to 12. The conference theme is “Challenges of a Free Press” in Asia, the Pacific and the U.S. Continue reading »

Jan 312014

Special rates for Myanmar residents and competitive scholarships for Myanmar journalists now available for March 10-12 event that is expected to draw hundreds of journalists from 25 nations

With the East-West Center’s International Media Conference in Yangon, Myanmar, now just 6 weeks away, the roster of exciting speakers continues to grow. More than 300 journalists from 25 to 30 countries are expected to attend the conference titled “Challenges of a Free Press.”

Featured speakers now include: (see full list)

  • Umar Cheema, correspondent at The News International in Islamabad and winner of the 2011 Committee to Protect Journalists International Press Freedom Award
  • Jake Lynch, director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney and co-author of  “Peace Journalism (Conflict & Peacebuilding)”
  • Scott Pham, digital editor for NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit who started one of the first drone journalism programs in the US
  • Surin Pitsuwan, past ASEAN secretary-general
  • Thant Myint-U, renowned Myanmar author
  • U Win Tin, a founder of Myanmar’s National League for Democracy (NLD) and journalist who spent 18 years in prison
  • Jillian York, director for International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Ethan Zuckerman, director of the Center for Civic Media, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Check out the complete list of confirmed speakers and the current list of keynote topics, and please continue to send your proposals for conference sessions. The next announcement will include the growing list of workshops and participant panels.

We strongly recommend that you make plans to arrive by Sunday morning March 9, to join pre-conference events including a VIP luncheon speaker that we hope to announce soon, as well as the evening opening reception at  Karaweik Palace floating in Kandawgyi (Royal) Lake.

There’s still time to register and make travel plans for the conference! Continue reading »

Dec 202013

Excitement Builds for Myanmar Media Conference

With Myanmar’s dramatic media reforms in the past two years, our upcoming international media conference in Yangon has been drawing a lot of enthusiasm and anticipation.

Dates: March 10-12, 2014
Location: The Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), No.29, Min Ye Kyawswa Road, Lanmadaw Township, Yangon

Myanmar news readerWe are excited about the keynote speakers who have already confirmed and the topics they will address. We are also developing a diverse and interesting list of afternoon speakers, panels and media workshops that we will share with you soon. Please continue to send your proposals. See other important updates below.

With hundreds of media professionals attending from many countries, the networking opportunities will be tremendous. Additionally, 30 journalists representing all of Myanmar’s ethnic media will attend along with members of the country’s mainstream media.

We encourage you to register soon and look forward to seeing you in Yangon!

Latest Conference Updates:

  • We’re pleased to welcome Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung as our conference co-host. Our other distinguished sponsors include Pacific Century Institute, TODAY Ogilvy & Mather, Mangosteen Public Relations, RedLink Communications, Journalism and Media Studies Centre at the University of Hong Kong, Dart Centre Asia Pacific, and The Wall Street Journal. See sponsor page.
  • Check out our growing list of keynote speakers and topics.
  • Four unique afternoon field trips will be available for conference participants in Yangon and the surrounding countryside after the closing lunch on March 12 .
  • Arrive by Sunday morning to join pre-conference events including an opening reception on Sunday night, March 9, at the beautiful Karaweik Palace floating in Kandawgyi (Royal) Lake with Shwedagon Pagoda lit in the distance.
  • Special rates for Myanmar residents and scholarship opportunities for local journalists will be announced soon.
  • Please see important updates on hotels and visas.
  • Click the “continue reading” link below for more details, or use the main menu above for updated information.

Don’t wait to secure a hotel room, apply for a visa, or sign up for limited field trip seats. Register now!

Continue reading »