Fourth-Year Performances of the Ministry of Information

By Khin Yadanar and Zin Oo
Photo: Thiha Sithu

Bridging the People and the Three State Pillars: MOI

Elected by the people for the people, the incumbent Government has assumed the administrative duty that passed the fourth-year period. All the ministries dutifully shouldered the tasks for the greater good of the Nation and the People with aspiration towards the Democratic Federal Union.
While bridging the people and the three pillars of the nation namely the legislative, the administrative, and the judiciary; the MOI informs the public about government policy plans and implementation and supports improvements to knowledge and education of the public. The Union Minister, the Deputy Minister, and the Departmental Heads have offered interviews reflecting the functions, the hurdles, the challenges, and the future aspiration; and that the records are submitted to the esteemed readers and the people.

Dr Pe Myint (Union Minister)

Dr Pe Myint, Union Minister

Q: Kindly share us with the aims and objective of the MOI.
A: The MOI is bridging the people and the three pillars of the Nation. Even this interview is part of the bridging task. The MOI has compiled and featured the performances of the Government and the three pillars through the TV programmes and the newspapers, and submitted to the people.
First and foremost duty of the MOI is to inform the people with the news. Imparting knowledge to the people is the second obligation of the MOI. Presenting entertainment is the third commitment of the ministry. Four departments under the umbrella of MOI are undertaking these assignments and missions.

Q: Kindly tell us on the functions of the departments.
A: Coming up first is the Myanma Radio and Television Department (MRTV), which aired in Myanmar language as well as in the languages of ethnic nationalities, and also in English language. Shouldering the three responsibilities, the MRTV is providing news, imparting knowledge, and entertaining to the people.
Up next is the News and Periodical Enterprise (NPE) that concentrates on news media. Circulated in Myanmar language, “The Mirror” and “Myanma Alin” are under the wings of the NPE. English language newspaper “The Global New Light of Myanmar” is rolling out with the collaboration of a private company. Newspapers are presented in the printing format, while the MRTV transmitted the audio and video signals.
In modern days, as the technology improved day by day, the media has shifted to “Online Media” and “Digital Media”, and that the newspapers and the MRTV have also shifted in the same direction in presenting news to the people.

Printing and Publishing Department (PPD)
Imparting and transmitting knowledge to the people, the PPD has been upkeeping the activities and performances of the government departments throughprinting. All the documents with regard to the Union Government and the ministries are being printed and published by the PPD.
Since the advent of Information Department, the performances of the government departments and the official gazettes were being compiled, printed and published. Therefore, the PPD is the body that shoulders the foremost responsibility of the MOI. Implementing the main obligation of printing, the PPD is now printing the school text books for the Ministry of Education.
Moreover, the voters’ lists and the ballots for the General Elections are being handled by the PPD. Under its care, “Sar Pay Beik Man Book Centre” is working for the development of the literature. Another department is the Information ad Public Relations Department (IPRD), which deals directly with the public.

Q: Kindly explain how the departments bridge the people and the three state pillars.
A: Linking up between the people and the three state pillars, the MRTV and the NPE are keeping in touch with the public through the video images and the printed papers, and that the IPRD is interacting directly with the public. Each and every township has IPRD and the Public Library, which has been transformed into “Community Centre” where public meets and convened the public talks, the literary discussions, and the community development meetings. It is a venue where the people could voice their desire and wishes to the authorities.
In addition to knowledge propagation tasks, the IPRD is holding “Children’s Literature Festivals” and “Youth All- Round Development Festivals”.

Q: Kindly share us on the ways and means of cooperation among the departments.
A: There are four departments, and that they are working together in the same direction. For instance, the Myanma News Agency (MNA) collects news which is used by the MRTV and the newspapers. In the future, with the development of electronic media, more cooperation and coordination among the departments are imminent.
Scenario in the future is that the IPRD would be shouldering the news reporting of its jurisdiction to the public.
Literary discussions and the paper reading sessions are convened by the PPD as well as the IPRD, and that the MRTV is also working on literary development and the cultural development. The state owned newspapers are also featuring on literature development.

Q: Please tell us on the external linkage with other bodies.
A: Departments under the MOI are also collaborating with other ministries, and also keeping in touch with the states / regions governments; the Hluttaw Representatives; other organizations; and the public.

Working hand in hand with the ministries
For instance, when organizing “Children’s Literature Festivals”, it needs to work with the local authorities and also with the Ministry of Education.
In convening “Youth All-Round Development Festivals”, cooperation is being carried out with the Ministry of Home Affairs; the Ministry of Religious and Culture; the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry; the Ministry of Health and Sports; the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement; the General Administration Department; and other departments. Working together with the Hluttaw Representatives is most beneficial and promising. Teaming up with all the stakeholders, the MOI could bring best results in the performances in the fourth year period.

U Aung Hla Tun (Deputy Minister)

U Aung Hla Tun, Deputy Minister

Q: Please tell us on the main duty of MOI and other related obligations.
A: The main duty and mission of the MOI are to inform, to educate, and to entertain. Moreover, it has the obligation to work on the literature and the motion picture. Printing and publishing of all the school text books is the responsibility of the MOI.
At the time of COVID – 19 world pandemic and with the fast moving digital technology, most people have get themselves involved in the media domain. With these backdrops, I would like to share my view what we should do including the MOI.

Challenges
COVID – 19 pandemic is threatening all the nations on this planet, and that the relevant governments are trying their best to overcome the catastrophe and calamity. At this juncture, our nation is also facing many challenges including the internal armed conflicts.
At this stage, the worst challenge is the hate speech and fake news. Hate speech is defined as “public speech that expresses hate or encourages violence towards a person or group based on something such as race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. Hatred and suspicion comes in the form of fake news, wrong news and fabricated news. As the public is mostly attached to the Internet, the spread of fake news is easy.

Flow of news crucial

Q: How could we block the fake news?
A: We need to curb and expose the fake news and fabricated news, and at the same time we need to release and inform the right news with accountability in a timely manner. The correct news must reach the public in time to striking out the fake news, and that we need to think for a way out.

Making a decision
We need to come together and work in a collective manner, not as one individual of its own. Responsible bodies must release the news in time, and that the responsible departments must made public immediately. Above all, the public should think twice before making any comment or sharing of the news.
UNESCO and other similar bodies are doing its job in media ethics. The responsible authorities for the Facebook are also curbing the fake news through the “Community Standard” system. Our MOI is also doing the same though cooperation with the media partners namely the FMs and the TV channels.

Q: Kindly share us the measures to curb the fake news and hate speech.
A: Removing, elimination and getting rid of the fake news and the hate speech are the duty-bound task of all people, which is very crucial that needs cooperation. While our MOI is dealing with the fake news, the unexpected challenge of COVID – 19 pandemic has emerged. Even the developed countries are facing enormous challenges, and that the world pandemic causes negative impact on us.
We are trying our best in shouldering our duty in eliminating fake news, and that our media partners are also doing the same. That means we are doing what it should be done, and that we would continue our campaign.

U Myo Myint Maung (Permanent Secretary)

U Myo Myint Maung, Permanent Secretary, MOI
Director-General (Joint) at MRTV during fourth-year period

Q: Kindly explain us the system aired at the MRTV for the public.
A: We are rendering service to the public through the MRTV and the Myanma Radio in conventional and regular system, and that we are also providing through online media such as Website Facebook Youtube and SoundCloud.
We have the news channel, the Hluttaw channel, the ethnic nationalities’ channel, the farmers’ channel, English language Myanmar International Television (MITV); and partner media, totalling (19) channels through digital and analogue systems free to air transmission.
Analogue system covers (92) per cent of the population, and the digital system embraces (88) per cent of the country.

Q: Kindly tell us MRTV programs.
A: For the daily broadcasting programmes, we have MRTV (Tat Kone Head Office); two news bureau; ethnic nationalities’ TV channel (11) branch offices; Myanmar Radio ethnic nationalities’ bureau (17) branch offices; and (250) relay stations in (9) zones across the country. The fourth- year period is witnessed with success due to the collective efforts of the employees.

Q: Please tell us on the changes in the production and transmission.
A: Through the cooperation of the MRTV and the JICA, we have established modern studio at MRTV (Pyay Road), where we could produce quality filming through High-Definition (HD).
With the project, we have three units of “Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) Van”, and that we could cover more news in the future through “DSNG Van” and “Outside Broadcasting (OB) Van” on broader aspects. Now MRTV is broadcasting through HD video resolution beginning 15 February 2020.

Q: Kindly share us on the remarkable performances of the MRTV.
A: Total of (67,780) radio sets have been distributed free to people in some townships through the Rakhine State Government to let the people know the stability tasks and the development endeavors. We are also making “Content Reform” through the hard work and the creation in the production, for which the people appreciated the changes.
We have presented the changes and reform undertakings of the government for the interest of the people and the endeavours of the government employees serving in the most remote areas with hardship.

Long journey of the dream road and documentary films

The filming on the endeavours of the teachers serving in “Khaung Lan Hpu Areas” at northernmost part of Myanmar dubbed as “Long Journey of the Dream Road” and other filming on the performances of the artistes have been presented to the public, which earned appreciations.

Q: Tell us the future programe of the MRTV.
A: Plan to establish “Direct to Home (DTH)” is on the agenda, and at the same time, we intend to dismantle the “Analogue System” similar to ASEAN countries. We are trying our best to the serve the people.

U Ye Naing (Director-General of MRTV)

U Ye Naing, Director- General, MRTV
Served as Director-General of IPRD during fourth-year period

Q: Kindly tell us the performances of IPRD during the fourth-year period.
A: Our officers and the staff members across the country collect news in their jurisdiction and report to the public through the state owned media. They have been imparted and tutored with news related training courses, and as a result the “MOI Web Portal” could transmit (150) news items including audio and video news files. We have (417) offices across the country providing “WiFi” access to the public free of charge.

Q: Tell us on knowledge sharing plans for the public.
A: Total of (16) IPRD offices have been selected and upgraded with the cooperation of Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, where knowledge sharing programmes are implemented using mobile library and computer training courses. The Daw Khin Kyi Foundation has entrusted knowledge related items and expertise worth MMK (1,000) millions including (17) mobile libraries, computers and books on 15 September 2019.

MRTV’s engineers working in production control room.

Community Centre
In Bahan Township, we have constructed “Community Centre” with modern design equipped with many facilities, which was opened on 8 February 2020. More community centres are on the agenda across the country.

Q: Tell us more about “Community Centre”.
A: We have convened over (3,000) events of “Public Talk”, and over (3,000) rounds of “Book Club Discussions” at book lovers’ circle.

Q: Please tell us on “Children’s Literature Festival” and “Youth All-Round Development Festival”.
A: These festivals are held with the cooperation of the MOI, the Ministry of Education and the States / Regions Governments.

Q: Kindly tell us other educational measures.
A: Through the publications of journals such as “Doe Kyay Ywar Journal”, we are imparting knowledge to the farmers. In addition, the world affairs, the nationalities’ affairs, and other handouts and pamphlets are distributed.

Q: Please tell us on the development of movie world.
A: We are striving in cooperation with the “Myanmar Naing Ngan Motion Picture and Theatrical Asiayone” for the development of the movie industry. The movie estate in the Golden Valley has been transformed into “Film Development Centre” (FDC), where (170) events of filming have taken place. Workshops and seminars are also held. So far, we have coordinated in presenting (13) Myanmar movies into the world arena. We have successfully put the movie “Mya Ga Naing” in the UNESCO movie collection list.

Union Minister Dr Pe Myint and Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein, together with MoI senior officials, open Community Centre of Information and Public Relations Department in Bahan, Yangon.

U Ko Ko Naing, Acting Director-General, PPD

Q: Kindly tell us the main function of the PPD.
A: The PPD is shouldering the two main tasks such as that of quality products in government printing and that of the development of literature. The first task is to handle the works of the Union Government and the ministries including text books, and the other task is print and published books for the development of literature. We have (7) printing houses.
We are under taking weekly, monthly journals, magazines, and motley assortments of books, especially the school text books.

Q: Kindly explain the performances during the fourth-year period.
A: For the 2020 – 2021 academic years, basic education school text books on six categories have been printed according to the orders of (41 point 698) million copies. Books of records with regard to the State Leaders were also printed. For the ministries, total of (919,590) books and brochures were printed in addition to (27,670,219) blank sheet of forms.
In the literature development tasks, our department has presented (10) Myanmar National Literature Awards in cash, and (24) Sar Pay Beik Man Literature Awards also in cash. Myanma Encyclopedia containing (15) volumes printed in 1954 are being revised for printing again, and that “100 Myanmar classic book series” are rolling out regularly in the fourth year period with volume (4) (5) and (6).

Q: Kindly tell us other performances in connection with the Myanmar literature development.
A: Paper reading sessions have been convened for (3) rounds on Myanmar literature development campaign that included multidimensional aspects on Myanma culture.
U Thet Swe, Acting Managing Director, NPE

Q: Please tell us on the hard work for distributing news in ethnic nationalities’ languages.
A: Distribution of news in ethnic nationalities’ language is ongoing. In October 2019, we have distributed (4) pages news supplements printed in Shan ethnic nationality in collaboration with Shan State Government every Thursdays. Earlier, we have published and distributed other ethnic nationalities’ languages.

Q: Kindly share us the new features that are covered in the supplement.
A: Beginning 29 May 2019, the activities of the Hluttaw Representatives working for the Nation and the people are being featured with the heading “Hluttaws implementation for the Nation and the People” in Myanma Alin newspaper; and with the topic “Hluttaws fulfillment of People’s wishes” in “Mirror Dailies” every Wednesdays.
For the kids, knowledge on ethics and civics as well as travelogue is featured in the newspapers.

Q: Please share us on the future programmes of NPE.
A: At the moment news about COVID -19 pandemic are being submitted to the esteemed readers such as that of the news from the Ministry of Health and Sports; that of other ministries; that of interviews and roundtable talks; and that of news from foreign countries. All in all, we would try our best in fulfilling the needs of the people with new features and stays on with the reputation as People’s Newspapers. Translated by UMT (Ahlon)

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