2014 agenda

DAY 1: 18 SEPTEMBER 2014

Opening Session 

Panelists:

  • HE U Ye Htut, Union Minister, Ministry of Information (MoI)
  • Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO (Video Message) 
  • HE Roland Kobia, Ambassador for EU in Myanmar 
  • Anne-Charlotte Malm, Head of Development Cooperation, Regional Asia and Myanmar, The Embassy of Sweden, Bangkok 
  • U Kyaw Min Swe, General Secretary, Myanmar Press Council (Interim)

Keynote Speech: 

Role of a Journalist in Moving Towards a Sustainable Media Environment by Professor Yuen Ying Chan – Director, Journalism and Media Studies Centre, Hong Kong University


Session 1: Ethical Journalism and Social Responsibility of the Media

This initial session discusses the international standards in professional journalism vis-à-vis the status of Myanmar media. As the Myanmar Interim Press Council has also adopted a Code of Conduct for journalists the discussion on ethical standards and professional conduct of media practitioners is now at the center of media dialogues across the country. As the democratic transition is moving forward, the country is encountering multi-faceted challenges. Myanmar has recently seen the emergence of institutions such as the Myanmar Journalism Institute (MJI) with the mandate to strengthen professional standards of journalism in the country. Therefore, this discussion will focus on how far Myanmar media has come against the parameters of social responsibility and how far it has managed to uphold the norms of ethical journalism. 

Panelists:

  • HE U Ye Htut, Union Minister, Ministry of Information (MoI)
  • U Myint Kyaw, General Secretary, Myanmar Journalists’ Network (MJN)
  • U Soe Myint, Editor in Chief, Mizzima Media Group
  • U Nay Phone Latt, Executive Director, Myanmar ICT Development Organization 
  • Kavi Chongkittavorn, Columnist of The Nation, Thailand

Moderator: Agneta Söderberg Jacobsson, Programme Manager, Fojo Institute Sweden


Session 2: Reforming, Regulating the Broadcast Sector and Public Service Broadcasting

The government has embarked on a reform process in the broadcast sector that includes introducing new broadcast laws. In a parallel move the state broadcasting institutions are being restructured based on public service media frameworks. The new broadcast laws will come into effect within a few months, but the regulating aspect of the sector is still being deliberated. The discussion, therefore, must examine whether the broadcast sector reforms are developing according to international standards and requirements needed (such as institutional capacities) to pursue regulating systems, and issues related to public service broadcasting mechanisms.  

Panelists:

  • U Tint Swe, Director General of Myanmar Radio and Television 
  • U Khin Maung Htay, Co-founder, Director, Forever Group Co. Ltd.
  • U Aye Chan Naing, Director, Chief of Editor, Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) 
  • Domenic Friguglietti, Head Pacific and Mekong, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia  

Moderator: Toby Mendel, Executive Director, Centre for Law and Democracy, Canada


Session 3: Community Radio and Ethnic Voices  

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 neighboring 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. 

Panelists:

  • U Ze Yar, Director, Myanmar Radio and Television 
  • Naw Hsa Moo, Thoolei Kaw Way Community Radio, Karen state
  • Daw Hla Yin Aye, Manager, Mandalay FM
  • Madhu Acharya, Project Director, Internews Nepal Project

Moderator: Cheri Mangrai, Australia Broadcasting Corporation 


Session 4: Election Reporting 

Myanmar is expecting a year of elections commencing with the upcoming by-elections and national polls in 2015 where Myanmar media will test its capacity and responsibility to report on elections after the reforms. The by-elections in October would be a pre-cursor to this effect. Several capacity building efforts and discussion forums are underway to highlight the issues and challenges, but the media at large has yet to fully comprehend the role it plays during elections given its limited experience of covering elections. How can the mass media help ensure transparent and honest elections? Can all political parties be ensured equal media space? How can media facilitate greater access to justice for all and promote the rule of law? How can media help create an accountable and transparent justice system?

Panelists:

  • Dr. Daw Myint Kyi, Member of Union Election Commission
  • U Khin Maung Win, Deputy Director, Democratic Voice of Burma
  • U Sein Win, Training Director, Myanmar Journalism Institute (MJI)
  • Adnan Rehmat, Director, Civic Action Resource, Pakistan 

Moderator: Eric Glover, Project Manager, Canal France International 


DAY 2: 19 SEPTEMBER 2014

Session 5: The Press Council and the Complaints Mechanism

The by-laws of the newly introduced media laws are now in the making. These will provide the detailed legal provisions of the Press Council mechanism. The Interim Press Council has provided its proposals for the legislations which are now being reviewed by MoI and the Attorney General’s department. The Council has yet to adopt a comprehensive complaints mitigating mechanism against its newly introduced Code of Conduct for Myanmar journalists. What will be the best model for resolving disputes for the upcoming permanent Press Council? What should be the role of the Press in defending press freedom and the rights of journalists? Or should there be any such role at all? 

Panelists:

  • U Pe Myint, Member, Myanmar Press Council (Interim), Complaints Committee 
  • U Ye Tint, Director General, Information and Public Relations Department, Ministry of Information 
  • U Ba Oo, Myanmar Journalists’ Association, Mandalay  
  • Manfred Protze, Member of the Complaints Commission, German Press Council 
  • Tuazon Ramon, President, Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC), The Philippines

Moderator: U Thiha Saw, Chairman, Myanmar Journalism Institute(MJI), Vice President, Myanmar Journalists Association (MJA)


Session 6: Managing a Sustainable Business Model in the Media Sector

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 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 in the new era of media in Myanmar.

Panelists:

  • U Ko Ko, Chairman, Yangon Media Group
  • U Sonny Swe, CEO, Mizzima Media Group 
  • U Min Min Latt, Thanlwin Times, Mon state
  • Michelle Foster, Owner at Media Marketing and Management and consultant on media business models, USA 

Moderator: Isabella Kurkowski, Country Manager – Myanmar, DW Akademie


Session 7: The Media, Peace Building and Civil Society 

Does Myanmar media have a strong and mutually benefitting relationship with civil society? In the conflict and peace negotiations, is Myanmar media a “driver” of conflict by reinforcing prejudice and stereotypes through its coverage or is the media a peace builder? This session will highlight the necessary healthy relationship between media and civil society and the critical role of media in the promotion and pursuit of reforms in other sectors – the peace process, elections, criminal justice system, etc. 

Panelists:

  • Dr. U Kyaw Thu, Director, Paung Ku 
  • U Tin Maung Than, Special Advisor, Myanmar Peace Center 
  • Michael Pan, Project Director, Internews Europe 
  • Ljiljana Zurovac, Executive Director of Press Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Moderator: Lars Bestle, Head of Department for Asia, International Media Support (IMS)


Session 8: Beyond Media Laws – Other Legal Threats to Freedom of Expression 

Several recent developments in Myanmar highlighted the incompatibility between several existing laws and the public’s right to information. Without knowledge about existing non-media related laws journalists and media workers risk putting themselves at grave risk. The session seeks to describe the challenges while raising public debate on the issue. 

Panelists:

  • U Zaw Thet Htwe, Myanmar Journalist Union (MJU)
  • Dr. U Thi Han Myo Nyunt
  • U Khaing Maung Yee, Member of Parliament, Pyithu Hluttaw
  • Toby Mendel, Executive Director, Centre for Law and Democracy, Canada 

Moderator: : Adnan Rehmat, Director, Civic Action Resource, Pakistan


Session 9: Concluding Session and Closing 

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

  • HE U Ye Htut, Union Minister, Ministry of Information (MoI)  
  • HE Thierry Mathou, Ambassador of France to Myanmar (TBC)
  • Lars Bestle, Head of Department for Asia, International Media Support (IMS)
  • U Thiha Saw, Chairman, Myanmar Journalism Institute(MJI), Vice President, Myanmar Journalists Association (MJA) 

Moderator: Sardar Umar Alam, Head of Office UNESCO Yangon

conf-summary-cover