Ministry of Information holds meeting with news media

The Ministry of Information organized a meeting with news media organizations in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.

During the meeting, Union Minister for Information Dr Pe Myint said that the meeting had two objectives; the first one was that the meeting among the four pillars is held annually; this was a preliminary meeting among journalists to prepare for the upcoming meeting among the four pillars; so the media persons needed to discuss what they will say when they meet with the other three pillars; another fact was that all business sectors had encountered difficulties during the COVID-19 crisis and the government was seeking remedies to lessen COVID-19 impacts on businesses; the plans that would help lessen the effects of COVID-19 would be discussed in the meeting.

He continued by saying that the upcoming meeting among the four pillars has four purposes; they are: to fulfill the right to information, to make discussions among the four pillars – the administrative, the legislative, the judiciary and the media – in order to find a solution to safeguard rights and freedom of news media, to mutually recognize the nature and the roles of each other among the pillars and to collaborate with each other in trying to achieve good governance, and to review the results of the third workshop of the four pillars.

The Union Minister for Information Dr Pe Myint continued that there were two points that he wanted to discuss in the meeting; the first one was “check and balance” among the other three pillars; similarly the fourth pillar, which is the media, must follow journalism ethics; the second point was changes in media sector; the changes were rapid; the fourth pillar was based on printed newspaper, but online media, social media and digital technology had emerged in these modern days; in previous years it was said that citizen journalists should be nurtured, but the use of smart phones and social media recently became very common, and consequently every person became “Citizen Journalist”.

The Union Minister emphasized that the media must adapt to changes in order to strengthen the fourth pillar.
After that, Deputy Minister for Information U Aung Hla Tun said that regular session of the Second Hluttaw would be convened in the upcoming week. The fourth workshop of the four pillars will be held while the upcoming Hluttaw session is convened, the Deputy Minister added.
He continued that the ministry is the “Focal Ministry” of the other three pillars, and the media will survive forever; the media in democratic countries do not practise “Self-Censorship”, they just practise “Self-Regulated”; in the long run, every media outlet must be “Self-Regulated”, free and independent.

He continued to say that media organizations have played pivotal in every era, every system and every situation. He also emphasized that media must be free from bias, and news must reflect reality and be fair. He added that media should build mutual trust with news sources. Those facts will also be discussed in the fourth workshop of the four pillars, said the Deputy Minister.

Next, Myanmar Journalists Association Joint Secretary U Zayar Myat Khaing, Reporter U Htet Naing Zaw of the Irrawaddy (on behalf of the Myanmar Journalist Network), Reporter U Maung Maung Tun of News Watch news agency, Reporter U Aung Thura of BBC, Reporter U Than Htike Aung of Mizzima, RFA’s Editor Daw Aye Aye Mon, Reporter U Ko Ko Lwin of the Union Daily, Reporter U Sithu Naing of VOA, and Reporter U Aung Htet of the Voice made discussions, and officials of the Ministry of Information replied to the discussions.

The attendees then discussed various topics, including covering news at Hluttaw sessions, request for easing restrictions in collecting news, arrangements for covering news in the Rakhine State during the COVID-19 crisis, request for holding meetings by inviting media house owners and chief editors for media development, consideration for forming an organization based on social media, request for cooperation from the Ministry of Information in providing media training in Nay Pyi Taw, arrangements for covering electoral news, request for arrangements of meetings with the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Myanmar Police Force, Office of the Union Attorney-General, Tatmadaw True News Information Team in order to resolve difficulties encountered in covering news, request for negotiations to form Messenger or Viber “Private Groups” with spokespersons from ministries for collecting official news, and so on.

Afterwards, the Union Minister Dr Pe Myint and the Deputy Minister U Aung Hla Tun replied to the discussions and made necessary suggestions.—MNA (Translated by Maung Maung Swe)

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