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Journalists negotiate press council duties with Burmese gov’t

Activities of the newly formed Myanmar Core Press Council have been halted to allow for negotiations with the Myanmar Journalists Association (MJA), government officials said.

The MJA said the powers invested in the government’s press council threatened freedom of the press and continued government control over the media.

The professional journalists’ group has asked that six of the council’s provisions be amended or cancelled, according to domestic media reports this week.

After Minister for Information Kyaw Hsan met with a MJA delegation that presented its demands, he announced the council’s tasks would be put on hold until negotiations with the association have been concluded.

The MJA objected to the government’s description of the council’s duties that include: “to supervise the expressions of those from the press field so that their expressions are not detrimental to the interest of the people, the dignity of the state and the national sovereignty”; “to scrutinize the imported periodicals and publications so that they are in conformity with the national interest”;  “exercising the above mentioned authority in accordance with evidence act, penal code, code of civil procedure and Tort”;  “enjoying immunity from criminal or civil prosecution against members of MCPC and those who are vested duties by the council for they are exercising duties and authority vested in them intentionally”;  “educating and taking actions as necessary over the breach of journalism ethics”; “the MCPC shall discharge duties until the hand-over of duties to the Myanmar Press Council to be formed in line with the Press Media Law (draft) is currently being compiled by the Ministry of Information.”

The duties, in effect, perpetuate the government’s control of the media and stifle freedom of speech and the press, said MJA officials.

Representatives of regional and state journalism associations formed the national-level Myanmar Journalists Association on Aug. 11.

The executive committee includes Maung Wuntha (chairman); Ko Ko, chief executive officer of Yangon Media Group; Thiha Saw;  Win Nyein, Shwe Amyutay Magazine; and Phoe Naing Lin, Popular News.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 28 August 2012 13:21 )  

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