Assessment of media development in Myanmar

Based on UNESCO's Media Development Indicators

The MDI report on media development in Myanmar, published in June 2016, is the result of a collaboration between the UNESCO Bangkok Office and press freedom NGO International Media Support (IMS). National ownership of the assessment process was ensured through the involvement of the department of journalism at the National Management College of Myanmar as well as through various multi-stakeholder consultations. Five years after the country embarked on a series of political, social, and economic reform processes, this report represents an objective, analytical stock-taking of how far Myanmar has progressed towards a more free, independent and pluralistic media.

Key developments in the media sector include the adoption in 2014 of the Printing and Publishing Enterprise Law (PPEL), which officially abolished past prior censorship and allowed newspapers to become editorially independent from the state; the Broadcasting Law of 2015, which enables private, public and community media to flourish; and the establishment of the Myanmar News Media Council in October 2015.

The MDI report on media development in Myanmar, published in June 2016, is the result of a collaboration between the UNESCO Bangkok Office and press freedom NGO International Media Support (IMS). National ownership of the assessment process was ensured through the involvement of the department of journalism at the National Management College of Myanmar as well as through various multi-stakeholder consultations. Five years after the country embarked on a series of political, social, and economic reform processes, this report represents an objective, analytical stock-taking of how far Myanmar has progressed towards a more free, independent and pluralistic media. Key developments in the media sector include the adoption in 2014 of the Printing and Publishing Enterprise Law (PPEL), which officially abolished past prior censorship and allowed newspapers to become editorially independent from the state; the Broadcasting Law of 2015, which enables private, public and community media to flourish; and the establishment of the Myanmar News Media Council in October 2015.

The assessment was carried out over a period of 18 months and canvassed the multiple aspects of the media landscape in Myanmar, addressing the 50 indicators of the MDI framework. Data gathering methods included literature review, legal stock taking, a public opinion poll involving 1020 respondents, a total of 90 key informant interviews, and 48 focus groups discussions across five states and four regions. Each chapter of the report provides a set of recommendations on the way forward with a view to contributing to the ongoing reform of the media sector in Myanmar.

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This assessment is based on UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators (MDIs), which were endorsed in 2008 by the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). MDIs, which cover all aspects of media development, define a framework within which the media can best contribute to, and benefit from, good governance and democratic development. They are being applied in various countries worldwide to identify their specific needs in view of guiding the formulation of media-related policies and improving the targeting of media development efforts.

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