2016 Agenda

5th Media Development Conference: Inclusive Independent Media in a New Democracy

 

07 NOVEMBER 2016 (MONDAY)

8:30 AM

Registration

9:00 AM

Opening Session

Panellists:

  • Invitation Extended to H.E The President / Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
  • H.E the Union Minister of Information 
  • UNESCO Representative
  • Swedish Ambassador – H.E Mr. Staffan Herrstrom 
  •  U Khin Maung Lay (Chairman:Myanmar Press Council /MNMC)

Keynote Speech: U Phyo Min Thein (Chief Minister, Yangon)/ Naw Pan Thazin Myo (YGN Regional Government)

10:00 AM

Group Picture / Tea Break

10:30 AM

Session 1: Review of media laws and Spaces

Myanmar has adopted several media laws during recent years and is still experiencing some old laws that were adopted during the military regime. A thorough review of these existing media laws is essential, and this has been highlighted by the Myanmar News Media Council. Meanwhile, the broadcast sector is still awaiting the opening of doors for private players through the proposed Broadcast Law, which has been delayed since last year. Reforming the country’s once state-dominated broadcast sector has been a priority of the media reform process, and the government, with the assistance of international partners, was successful in adopting a sound broadcast. Nevertheless, there is a challenging road ahead as many crucial concerns such as ownership issues, viability and sustainability of the sector, Code of Conduct and licensing procedures need to be addressed in a pragmatic manner.

Talking points:

  • Review of existing media laws
  • Current status of the Broadcast Law
  • Sustainability of the industry, potential business models
  • Public Service Broadcasting and the present status of the process
  • Updates on the reform process of the state broadcasters, the successes, challenges and lessons learnt
  •  International best practices, lessons learnt, principles and parameters on broadcast sector regulation
  •  Regulation in a converged media society
  • Ensuring multi-ethnic and relevant gender perspectives within the broadcast sector

Panellists:

  • Local Panellist 1: Daw Thida Tin (Deputy Director General of IPRD, MOI)
  •  Local Panellist 2: U Myint Kyaw (MJN)
  • Local Panellist 3: U Khin Maung Win (Deputy Director, DVB)  
  • International Panellist 1: Mr. Pierre Docquir (Senior Legal Officer, Article 19)

Moderator: Local Broadcast Media Expert U Ko Ko (Vice Chairman of MBA )

40 minutes for presentations / 35 minutes for discussion

11:45 AM

Session 2: Safety of Journalists / impunity

The vulnerability of media and its practitioners has become alarming with the expansion of press freedom in the country. Though the country is experiencing a fragile peace process, journalists are still expected to travel and report stories from conflict-ridden areas where their safety could be heavily compromised. Similarly, the work of journalists becomes more vulnerable because of frequent street protests. Additionally, over the past year, journalists have been subject to out-dated laws, threats and violence. Those that write about national security, anti-corruption, religion, conflict and land rights, among other subjects, are at particular risk. The risk increases outside of urban areas and where media workers are also marginalised for other reasons such as their gender or ethnicity. In a number of Asian countries, there are examples of locally driven, wide-reaching safety mechanisms for journalists set up by a board of national and international partners. While each country and conflict is different, there are best practices that can be shared and learned from.

Talking points:

  • What are the main vulnerabilities faced by journalists and media workers and how can we work together to resolve them?
  • Why are journalists vulnerable? When and where are they vulnerable? And from whom?
  • What have the government, the legal system and police done to address the problem? Has the National Human Rights Commission done enough? Do we need new mechanisms?
  • Any special concerns with regard to gender issues here?
  • How far ethnicity becomes a concern in this issue?

Panellists:

  • Local Panellist 1: U Than Zaw Aung (Secretary – Myanmar Media Lawyers Network)
  • Local Panellist 2: U Swe Win (Chief Reporter of Myanmar Now)
  •  Local Panellist 3: Ma Nan Ohmar Aung @ Shan Malay (Senior Editor, Shan Herald News)
  • International Panellist – Lars Heiberg Bestle (Head of Asia, IMS; IMS-Fojo Myanmar Media Development Programme)

Moderator: Local Expert: U Zayar Hlaing (General Secretary, MJN)

40 minutes for presentations / 35 minutes for discussion  

1:00 PM

LUNCH

2:00 PM

Session 3: Gender and Media     

In recent years gender bias in media content has been acknowledged and highlighted as a factor that can harm the development of democratic and peaceful societies. In a global context, less than one out of four people represented in the news is a woman (this proportion has not changed during the last five years according to the Global Media Monitoring study from 2015).  Although not being part of this specific study, Myanmar follows the global trend according to available studies. In Myanmar media men dominate as news sources, especially in the roles of experts and when it comes to “hard” topics, such as politics, security and economics.

Interestingly enough this gender imbalance is kept in a media environment where women now are in majority among staff. Alongside men, women seem to be reproducing the gender imbalance and gender stereotypes in the content they produce, possibly due to the fact that women are cast as ‘bearers of culture’ and are made symbolically responsible for upholding cultural norms and values. The liberalisation of the media environment has also brought with it more objectification and sexualisation of the image of women in the media (mainly in commercials, entertainment and yellow press), a trend that faces criticism from both women's organizations and religious groups.

Talking points:

  • How do social norms affect the possibilities for women and men to take on different positions and roles in the media industry?
  • What are the benefits of introducing gender equality as a steering principle in media organisations/businesses? Are there any disadvantages?
  • Does the sex of the reporter matter? Today more than half of the journalism corps are women and women are in majority among journalism students. Does/will this shift in gender balance affect the media content in the longer run?
  • What is the situation regarding gender equality in ethnic media?

Panellists:

  • Local Panellist 1: Ma Thin Thin Thar  (Executive Member, MJU)
  • Local Panellist 2:  Esther Htu San (Reporter, AP)
  • Local Panellist 3: Eaint Khine Oo  (MWJS)
  • Local Panellist 4: Daw Nan Paw Gay (KIC)

Moderator: Agneta  Soderberg-Jacobson (Programme Manager, Fojo; IMS-Fojo Myanmar Media Development Programme)

40 minutes for presentations / 35 minutes for discussion  

3:15 PM

TEA BREAK

3:45 PM

Session 4: Social Media – THE game changer

With an estimated 40 million people getting connected through mobile phones, predominantly smart phones, the media landscape is facing radical challenges on its content, outreach and accessibility. Many of the users are youngsters, and they tend to define the social discourse through the undefined and unregulated content. Hate speech, too, has become an alarming composition of social media content and countering it has become a challenge in itself.  The country saw the impact of this emerging giant during several social unrests, and the government had to collaborate with social media outlets in mitigating the situations. Sometimes media, too, benefit from the social media as a source of information, sometimes violating basic ethics in journalism. Media literacy too, plays a major role in this context, mainly educating the public when engaging with media.

Talking points:

  • The impact of social media in the present social landscape of Myanmar
  • Hate speech and its impact on social media
  • Gender perception on the social media / How women are being portrayed
  • Bloggers and other social media activists and their space and role in the whole social media theatre
  • Usage and future challenges / perspectives of the sector
  • The relationship between the conventional and social media in the media landscape of Myanmar
  • Importance of media literacy in a society and ways and means of educating public on media literacy

Panellists:

  • Local Panellist 1: Ma Phyu Phyu Thi  (R&D Manager, MIDO)
  • Local Panellist 2: Phandeeyar
  • Local Panellist 3:  Aw Karout (Chief Editor: Hinthar Media)
  • International Panellist: (TBD) 

Moderator:  Local Expert on Social Media U Myo Thar Htet (Media Adviser, Internews)  

40 minutes for presentations / 35 minutes for discussion

5:00 PM

END OF DAY 1

7:00 PM

Dinner (hosted by FOREVER GROUP)

 

08 NOVEMBER (TUESDAY)

9:30 AM

Session 5: Right To Information  

Myanmar has yet to adopt Access to Information or RTI Laws, and civil society and other societal movements have started lobbying and advocating for these laws.

The right to access information held by public bodies is recognised globally as a human right, and over 110 countries around the world have now adopted right to information laws to ensure this important right. Access to information is an important underpinning of democratic participation and public accountability, as well as controlling corruption and supporting business development and individual self-fulfilment. As the process of democratisation deepens in Myanmar, the country is also preparing legislation on the right to information, and the government has held public workshops to discuss drafts it has prepared. Once the legislation is adopted, the process of implementation will require considerable government attention, as well as the support of civil society and other actors. This session will highlight the steps that have been taken within Myanmar on this issue and share international best practices both in terms of drafting legislation and undertaking key implementation measures. The goal is to support the process of developing and implementing right to information legislation in Myanmar.

Talking points:

  • How far has Myanmar progressed in terms of respecting the right to information and what are the next steps?
  • What are the key principles and standards that legislation in this area should reflect?
  • What are some common gaps and weaknesses in legislation in other countries that Myanmar should try to avoid?
  • Certain institutional structures are needed to promote effective implementation of right to information legislation. What are these and how can Myanmar ensure that it has these institutions and that they are effective?
  • Describe the the key challenges in terms of implementing right to information legislation? What steps can Myanmar take to mitigate or limit these challenges?
  • Special concerns on gender and ethnicity with regards to RTI

Panellists:

  • Local Panellist 1: (Parliamentarian Bill Committee- TBC)
  • Local Panellist 2: Daw Nwe Zin Win (Executive Director, Pyi Gyi Khin)
  • Local Panellist 3:  U Aung Hla Tun (Vice Chairman, MNMC)
  • International Panellist: Toby Mendel (Executive Director, CLD)

 

Moderator: Local Media Expert: U Aung Myo Min (Executive Director, Equality Myanmar)

40 minutes for presentations / 35 minutes for discussion  

10:45 AM

TEA BREAK

11:15 AM

SESSION 6:  SUSTAINABILITY OF INDEPENDENT MEDIA

Myanmar is experiencing a rapid expansion in both the public and private owned media landscape, and many new entrants can be seen in national and regional levels, including on digital platforms as well. The rapidly expanding media industry not only challenges the media as a business, but also raises questions about competitive media content and the availability of trained journalists, capital, equipment and facilities, distribution channels, etc.  The ethnic media landscape in the regions is experiencing a significant expansion. The rapid expansion in the mobile networks as well as the digital/data sector provides new media platforms and also introduces new media products to the market. The key words are survival, sustainability and economic viability while maintaining independence in the new era of media in Myanmar.

Talking points:

  • The dynamics of business competitiveness while maintaining public interest and social responsibility ideals
  • Role of the government – what changes in political economic structures and what policies are needed to ensure a level playing field
  • Media ownership policies including cross-ownership and also with regard to editorial policies in a competitive media market
  • The emerging technologies – convergence and cost effectiveness in media business –using digital platforms as a major business strategy
  • The viability of ethnic media business landscape and how digital platforms help these vulnerable groups in sustaining the regional businesses
  • The gender equality in media ownership and their different dynamics
  • How media groups face tough competition
  • Survival and sustainability strategies, marriages and divorces in media business

Panellists:

  •  Local Panellist 1: U Thaung Su Nyein (Chief Editor, 7 Days)
  • Local Panellist 2: U Myo Aung (Editor-in-Charge, Dawei Watch)
  • Local Panellist 3:  Daw May Thingyn Hein (CEO, Myitmakha News Agency)
  • Local Panellist 4: Daw Aye Hnin Swe @ Rose Swe (MD, Mango Media Ltd.)

Moderator: Local Media Expert: U Soe Myint (CEO/Chief Editor, Mizzima)

40 minutes for presentations / 35 minutes for discussion

   

12:30 PM

LUNCH

1:30 PM

Session 7: STRENGTHENING voices of Community media

Myanmar, as a country of many ethnic voices and identities, should provide maximum space for these voices to be heard through community media. Also, the emergence of community based print publications on a regional basis has become a new feature of the media landscape, and it is becoming a main sector of the industry. On the other hand, community radio has been a widely discussed topic within the media development and media reform process in the country – both by government and other stakeholders.  There can be seen an emergence of several regional newspapers, but the question remains whether these publications fit the classification of community media.

The ongoing media reform process intends to introduce community radio to Myanmar with limited experience in the sector. Plenty of examples could be drawn from its neighbouring countries where this sector has lost its focus and intended outcomes. An equally important aspect is the challenge of developing effective platforms for different ethnic groups. This session examines the lessons learnt, challenges and opportunities in establishing community radio mechanisms in Myanmar.

Talking points:

  • The emerging regional ethnic based print media landscape, its sustainability and other challenges
  • The role of government in ensuring sustainability, viable business environment
  • Legal provisions and possible revisions that relate to community radio establishment
  • International / Regional experiences and lessons learnt on establishing and operating community radios
  • Possibilities and challenges in introducing ethnic-based community media landscape
  • Gender perspective and ways in strengthening their voices 

Panellists:

  • Local Panellist 1: U Ko Ko Zaw (Chief Editor, Than Lwin Times)
  • Local Panellist 2: Daw Wint Wade (BBC : Linn Lae Kyae Sin Program)
  • Local Panellist 3: Salai Hon Tun Gai (Executive Director, Chin Media Network)
  • International Panellist: Mr. Per Oesterlund (Senior Media Consultant, DW Akademie)

Moderator:  Local Media Expert: Nwe Kay Khaing (TBC)

40 minutes for presentations / 35 minutes for discussion  

2:45 PM

TEA BREAK

3.15 PM

Session 8: Concluding Session and Closing

The session will summarize the main points and key recommendations shared by panellists and participants.

Panellists

  •  Speaker 1- The Union Minister
  • Speaker 2 – US Ambassador / US Aid Chief
  • Speaker 3 – Ethnic Media Representative: U Khine Myat Kyaw
  • Speaker 4 – Daw Zin Mar Kyaw (Associate Professor, NMC)

Chair: UNESCO

Duration : 45 minutes for presentations

4.00 PM

END

5.00 PM

COCKTAIL (HOST TBC)

 

  

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