When the East-West Center held its International Media Conference in Yangon in 2014, it was a time of great excitement, hope and inspiration for the country’s media; Myanmar journalists said it was the first time they felt safe to speak freely after nearly 50 years of military rule and a fragile transition to democracy in 2010. Although journalists continued to face challenges during the transition to democracy, the impact of the military coup that imposed a yearlong state of emergency on Feb. 1, 2021, again has journalists fearing for their safety and the survival of an independent media.
“Many journalists including me worry about our safety and we are moving around from place to place,” an EWC media alumnus shared. A story in Frontier Myanmar under the headline “ Bad things are going to happen’: coup puts media on edge” reported that “The junta has not yet arrested journalists en masse, shut down media houses or re-imposed censorship, but Myanmar’s media workers are bracing for the worst.” Journalists and prominent activists have been detained and there are social media reports of mass arrests. Internet connection has been intermittently shut down and residents fear the military will build a firewall like its neighbor China on the northeast border. Hear journalists in Myanmar and the region, and a Myanmar expert in the US discuss what’s next for Myanmar: the future of a free press, free speech, and democracy; the role of China; and what the global community can do to support a return to democracy.
Speakers: (listed in speaking order)
- Soe MYINT, Editor-in-chief, Mizzima News, Yangon, Myanmar @sm_mizzima
- Aung ZAW, Editor-in-chief, The Irrawaddy, Yangon, Myanmar @IrrawaddyNews
- Kavi CHONGKITTAVORN, Senior Columnist, Bangkok Post and former Editor, Myanmar Times, Bangkok, Thailand
- Christina FINK, Professor and Myanmar Expert, Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA @ElliottSchoolGW
- Ramy INOCENCIO, Asia Correspondent, CBS News, Beijing, China @RamyInocencio
Primary Contact Info:
Name: Jaymen Laupola