A three-day-long ethnic media conference was successfully held in Myitkyina the Kachin State Capital last week bringing together reporters from across Myanmar. According to organizers over 300 journalists joined the conference.
The conference which ran from September 16th to 18th was organized by Burma News International (BNI) a consortium of Myanmar focused on ethnic media organizations. This year’s conference was the 7th such annual Ethnic Media Conference to be held since they began in 2012. This year’s conference was title was “Justice for Ethnic Media” and it was held in the Majoi hall on the grounds of Myitkyina’s Manau Park.
“The Objectives of this conference were to provide sustainable development for ethnic media outlets, to seek ways for security and protection of journalists and to support Burma’s democratic transition”, explained Lagwi Htang Ying, a staff person with the Kachin News Group (KNG).
Some of the issues discussed during the conference included the right to information, freedom of expression, journalist security, sustainable development for ethnic media outlets, the Kachin conflict, difficulties for Kachin internally displaced people (IDP) and rule of law issues.
Nan Paw Gay chief of the Karen Information Center (KIC) explained that this year’s ethnic media conference was a success. “Mainstream media now have their own journalists in respective ethnic areas. They have reported news stories with the voice of ethnic people. I think this is one positive result from holding ethnic media conferences in ethnic states,” Nan Paw Gay told the Kachin News Group (KNG).
Sai Meng, the editor in chief of the Shan Herald Agency for News said that ethnic media outlets benefit from these conferences because they can exchange information with each other.
“In my opinion, we can exchange information. Many journalists haven’t been to Kachin State before this conference. Now journalists understand what’s happening in Kachin State including the peace process, IDP issue, conflict issues, travel difficulties, etc. That’s why we organize the ethnic media conference in ethnic states every year. I expect that journalists will benefit from this ethnic media conference,” said Sai Meng.
At the conclusion of the conference, a joint statement was released that had several points; this included the right to information and calls for security for journalists. Earlier rounds of the annual Ethnic Media Conference have already been held in Mon, Shan, Chin, Rakhine, Kayah and Karen states.