Inclusive, independent media a priority on Myanmar’s developing media scene

Media outlets carry much of the responsibility for keeping alive the gender stereotypes and general gender inequality that pervades Myanmar society. This and other key themes on the agenda at the fifth annual Myanmar Media Development Conference in Yangon 7-8 November

The headline of the conference, “Inclusive Independent Media in a New Democracy,” is a matter that cannot be underestimated in a country where a fragile peace process is reliable on professional media to support negotiations thorough, pluralistic, balanced and informed coverage.

If large parts of society from women to minority and ethnic groups are not represented in mainstream media, they are unable to engage in and contribute to the country’s ongoing democratic process. A new and exciting report published in November 2016 by Fojo Institute with IMS support, maps the gender inequalities in Myanmar media – an imbalance that women themselves seem to be reproducing as well in their coverage.

For the fifth consecutive year, national and international media stakeholders, members of civil society and government representatives will meet to discuss the status of and way forward for media development in Myanmar, and this year in particular will be an opportunity for engagement with the country’s newly elected government. One of the main sessions will deal with the safety of journalists on which IMS’ Head of Asia will share examples of best practices when it comes to establishing locally led safety mechanisms for journalists. The key to mechanisms that work lies partly in ensuring a broad support base, the buy-in of a wide range of media stakeholders from journalist unions to media houses, civil society and when possible, local and national government.

The 2016 conference will give particular attention to issues of gender and ethnicity in Myanmar’s media. Efforts have also been made to ensure a balanced representation of gender and ethnicity on each panel, and the situation of ethnic media and female journalists will be a cross-cutting theme. One session will be devoted entirely to a discussion of women and media,

Discussions at this year’s conference will draw heavily from the recently-published Assessment of Media Development in Myanmar published by IMS and UNESCO. Based on UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators, the report analyses the Myanmar media sector and provides a baseline for the current situation and recommendations for improvements.

The full text of the MDI Assessment can be found here.

The 5th Myanmar Media Development Conference is organised by the Myanmar Press Council, Myanmar Journalist Association, Myanmar Journalist Network, Myanmar Journalist Union, Burma News International and Myanmar Journalism Institute with support from  Myanmar Ministry of Information (MoI), UNESCO, the IMS-FOJO Media Development Programme in Myanmar, Deutsche Welle Akademie, USAID, Centre for Law and Democracy, Internews, DVB, ARTICLE 19, Mizzima, and FHI 360.

7&8 November, 8:30AM-5:00PM, Chatrium Hotel, Yangon.

If you are a member of the media and wish to take part, contact Mr. Ye Wint Hlaing by email: or phone (09 730 47273) or for more information.  Follow the conference on Twitter and Facebook: and #MyanmarMDC5.