Monday, 09 December 2019

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Competition heats up as 8 more newspapers get licenses

The Ministry of Information announced on March 25 that in a second round of licensing eight more private daily newspapers have been granted permission to publish, bringing the total of permitted daily publications in Myanmar to 16.

(PHOTO: Mizzima)
“Now [the publishers] have to do some serious groundwork to publish these daily papers as there will be tight competition among them. The market has not expanded much so they will have many challenges lying ahead,” said Ko Ko (Set Hmu), the publisher of Yangon Times, one of the recently permitted dailies.

He told Mizzima that Yangon Times will have to take a little time for publication of a daily newspaper and that they will wait until June to begin printing.

Applications for private daily papers have been accepted since February 1. The government allowed eight private daily papers in the first batch on March 1. These licenses have been granted on a temporary basis under the existing law of 1962 Printers and Publishers Registration Law, section 8(1) from April 1.

Ko Ko said that the newspapers might experience further difficulties since no new media law has been confirmed yet. The first draft new media bill was suspended last week following harsh criticism from media groups for its draconian elements and similarities to the old 1962 law.

“If the authorities do take stringent action against us under the 1962 law then we will have self-censorship and be in a tight corner to do our job. But I don’t think they will apply it exactly because there is no more censorship board,” Ko Ko told Mizzima.

The papers granted licenses are: the NLD's D-Wave newspaper, applied for by Aung San Suu Kyi; The Daily Eleven; Sandaw Chein (Standard Time); Khit Thit Daily (New Era); Yangon Times; Myanmar Dika; Voice of Union; and 7-Days Daily.

Eight other daily papers were granted licenses in early March. These were: Mizzima; Khit Moe; Union Daily; Shwe Naing Ngan Thit (New Golden Land); Empire; The Messenger; Myanmar Newsweek; and Last Updated News.

State-run daily newspapers reported on March 26 that the authorizing committee for daily publications had yet to decide on three more pending applications.

Related articles:
  1. Myanmar’s draft media bill suspended
  2. 8 Myanmar newspapers to go daily

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