MYANMAR: Retractable Reform

If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. This is abundantly evident in the case of Reporters Without Borders (RWB), the media rights group, who has called for reform in Myanmar’s media.

The Bangkok Post recently reported that this group has urged Myanmar to fulfill their pledge of a freer media. In August the government of Myanmar listed a set of “guidelines” for journalists. But after criticism from groups like RWB, the government has since said they were merely suggestions. These alleged suggestions included the censorship of anything critical of the government.

Given the major reforms Myanmar has seen in the last two years, journalists were pleased to learn of the abolishment of direct censorship. The most promising reform that has been made for Myanmar’s media was realized when at last, there were no longer any journalists or bloggers in their prisons.

The government’s guidelines, or “suggestions”, seem to be a step in the opposite direction. Reporters Without Borders has urged for an end to the state-run media and is calling for access to government institutions for journalists.

The government of Myanmar would do well to consider and implement some of these requests, and show the international community an act of good faith. If there is no longer anything to hide, why not allow their media to prove it?

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