- By Khin Yadanar
The long march to democracy needs harmonious changes so that everything may be in conformity with the advancing era. In this regard, the News and Periodicals Enterprise-NPE of the Ministry of Information-MOI has been transforming the state-owned newspapers through new versions, visions, creations and techniques.
The current government has been in office for two full years, and the NPE launched the digital newspaper on 11-1-2018 in applying the quickest public information means apart from releasing news on the government’s accomplishments and information for the public.
“Although the print media has a firm market till now, sooner or later, it will be overpassed by the digital system. Hence the NPE launched the Myanmar Digital News that is disseminating information about multiple events happening all around the country and government announcements such as notifications and orders in real time. Thanks to the digital newspaper, the world can hear the voices of the government and the people in real time”, said an official of the NPE.
Unlike the print media, the digital media has no space or time limit. As all the social media, it will feature news and photos for the public.
In addition to publishing the over 100-year old Myanma Alinn daily and over 60-year old The Mirror daily and the English newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar, the NPE has now successfully launched its digital news outlet — Myanmar Digital News-MDN. According to a MDN official, Myanmar Digital News will also serve as the source in the information flow towards the print dailies.
Myanmar Digital News is available at www.mdn.gov.mm and can be downloaded free. It can be read both in Unicode and Zawgyi.
The MDN has a 24-hour-working editorial team that is uploading important news in time. Latest news is available in video clips, photos and exclusive interviews. It is also uploading the English version.
Workshops, talks and trainings are being conducted and newsroom and other staff are being sent abroad to write and compile quality news, articles through excellent displays. In addition there are English proficiency courses, computer courses and designing courses for them.
Real time news
The NPE has also made contacts with international news agencies to inform the public about the global events through opinions, different views and pictures in real time.
“As we are state-owned media, we are trying to release news that benefits the nation, that provides public knowledge and the government programs that need special care. In the same time, we are trying our best to avoid news or style of writings that may cause conflicts and that may lead to wrong interpretations and to be free from mistakes. As NPE is a bridge between the government and the people, it is taking special care in spreading true news through correct spelling, grammar and choice of words. In this way, it is serving the public,” the MDN official said.
Thanks to all the changes in the policy and techniques, more news and sectors that are beneficial and attractive for the public are appearing on the newspaper pages within a two-year period. Additionally, dailies are using more pages on special news, breaking news, public voices, educative articles and opinions.
The dailies are featuring three to five articles on general knowledge a day. They are also issuing reviews, editorials, announcements, warnings daily and their total number reaches between 40 and 60. In this ways they are serving the public.
More sectors can be inserted in the dailies within the two-year period of the government in accord with the public demand and market demand. They are the sectors including new generation sector for students all around the country, Sunday cartoon for children, the public forum where people’s views can be seen and voices can be heard, letters to the editor, the sector for legal knowledge, travelogue, traditional foods, farming in various parts of the country, sports and socio-economy.
There are also weekly supplements. They are: Today Yangon which deals with information for Yangonites, their voices, their aspirations and difficulties, the Golden Rakhine Land for ethnic Rakhines, ethnic sections where news appeared in Kachin, Mon, Sakaw Kayin, Poe Kayin, Pa-O languages, ethnic supplement which aims at preserving culture, traditions and customs of national races, and the Mandalay section which concentrates more on Mandalay and the upper part of Myanmar.
State-owned dailies are normally weak in scooping. The views of readers are varied. Some view the state-owned dailies as tools representing the government. In fact, the government dailies are giving priority to news beneficial to the State in addition to government’s accomplishments, goals, policies, departmental announcements, public information and parliamentary reports and other legal issues.
The NPE is one of the successful state enterprises. The enterprise is also paying various taxes including income tax and commercial tax. It has its own capital for expenditure. It does not rely on the Union Funds. The NPE spared 55 per cent of the profits for its own operational expenditure. Although the government dailies are running under the economic policy, and programs of the State, they are trying to make profits.
The two State-owned dailies the Myanma Alinn daily and The Mirror daily, the joint-venture The Global New Light of Myanmar and the Online daily Myanmar Digital News are providing scoops, true information on various sectors including the Myanmar politics through sincere news collecting and approaching methods while always abiding by the newspaper codes of conducts, occasionally issued ethics, and service personnel rules. Efforts are being made for every page of every daily to inform, educate and entertain the public in accord with the goal of the Ministry of Information.
Translated by TMT