Monday, August 14, 2017

Views On The Discussions Made On Democratic Transition of Myanmar

August 13, 2017

Interviewer : Kyaw Htaik Soe Photo: Ko Min

The outcomes from the interview with the international professionals and experts who attended and spoke at the Forum on Democratic Transition of Myanmar held from 11-13 August at the Myanmar International Convention Centers at Nay Pyi Taw were described below.

Interviewee — Ms. Isabella Kurkowski, Country Representative Myanmar, DW Akademie

From my point of view this forum is a momentous step in democratic transition of Myanmar. The economic transition unprecedented in the previous governments was discussed with great enthusiasm. In the previous forums and seminars only peace and economic transition were discussed. As a Myanmar representative of DW Akademie I felt greatly honoured to have a chance to participate in such an event in which the responsible personnel from Ministry of Information, members of Hluttaw, skilled professionals in respective subject and youths are taking part. To have an opportunity to discuss with the professionals local and abroad, of great expertise in the respective field of study is the essence of this forum. Myanmar can have the chance to learn the experience of India, Sri lanka and East European countries. According to the opening speech of State Counsellor, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in which she clearly warned to not do the same mistake of the past. The media also takes the important role in the transition. It is very important to inform of what the government is doing and the State can have the confidence of the people through the media. The government should utilize the media-pluralism in building a new democratic country. The media must have the right to secure the news of Hluttaw and government. Myanmar should bring forth the well-qualified reporter. It is found that Myanmar with the population of 54 millions has only two independent institutions, Myanmar Journalism Institute and National Management College where full time course on Journalism can be provided. This is the big setback of the democratic country. Another problem is libel that can send the media men to jail at any time. The reporter has to try to get news from other sources as it is sometimes difficult for reporters to get the news from authentic source. It is very dangerous for reporters , so section 66 (D) should be mended. And the role of intermediary arbiter should be raised.

Interviewee — Prof. Dr Aurel Croissant, professor of political science, Institute of Political Science, Heidelberg University, Germany

In this forum, I appreciate the discussion, especially made by Myanmar participants. It is found that thorough discussion on military-civilian relationship, peace and economic development are made. In this three day sessions the participants are discussing openly. Myanmar military has still retained an important role in the institutions. Though the civilian government elected by the people took power, it seems they are trying to construct a better relationship with the military. The relationship between civilian and military becomes improved. The civilian and political party has to be patient. The media role is also important and to express the hate speech freely is not the work of media. Media should express the news with responsibility and accountability. There should be the coordination between media and other organizations. It needs to do a lot of works for the freedom of press. If they are given more pressure they will call for more freedom of press. They will give more pressure on the government. Media is not the enemy of government, so also not the enemy of the military. Media is the institution that can point out the mistakes of government.

Interviewee — Mr. Kavi Chongkittavorn, Executive Director and Chief Editor, Myanmar Times

The three day forum is very productive as the participants can speak freely their view on advantages and disadvantages and opportunities of the democratic transition on Myanmar. Media has taken more important role in the time of the incumbent government. The speech of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi reflects the real situation of Myanmar. If the news are reported with bias without taking the real ground situation into consideration, the outside world will not have the chance to know the real situation of Myanmar. I discussed with citing examples of Singapore. Singapore has been the best country in reporting the real situation of the country. Media takes the important role in building a country. Media is responsible for not only to point out the mistakes of the government but also to give the true information. Media has the right to secure the news on whatever the government is doing. Media cannot help the government if they don’t get the required information. Currently Daw Aung Suu Kyi is the only person who can make the world known Myanmar through media. The Global New Light of Myanmar can also do it. It is important to get equal right to the access of news.

Interviewee — Dr. Soeren Keli, Cantebury Christ Church University, UK

The success gained in the transition and stamping out the civil war, the economic development, civil and cultural change were mainly discussed in this forum. Media freedom is seen much improved compared to 2009. The economy also has developed 7% starting from the previous years. The firm outcome resulted from the discussion among the 8 armed ethnic organisations of NCA-signatory group is also very supportive to peace development process. Since the military had initiated the transformation to democratic state, the democratic forces were responsible to move the process forward. In media sector the freedom of press in Myanmar is not in the satisfactory state and the media men are still in the haunted stage. Whatever it may be, this three-day forum is much beneficial to the people of Myanmar.

Ref; The Global New Light of Myanmar

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