Letter to Readers, Viewers and Supporters of Mizzima
By Soe Myint
July 2, 2019
Since after I wrote the letter to you on June 21, 2019 about the launch the Mizzima Key Campaign, we have been quite occupied not only with our regular work but also with a few activities. Mizzima’s Free-To-Air TV Channel started broadcasting the daily (Monday to Friday) 15-minutes VOA (Voice of America) Morning Program from 24 June 2019. Mizzima and VOA jointly organized a media seminar entitled “Myanmar Press Freedom and Democracy Level” with around 50 senior editors and journalists of Myanmar from various media outlets participating and discussing in the seminar. The main two topics deliberated were “How free is Myanmar media” and “Race, religion and nationalism in Media”. Then Mizzima and VOA jointly held a reception for more than 300 people from different walks of life in the evening of 29 June 2019 to sign the agreement between Mizzima and VOA for the “VOA News for Mizzima” TV programme. It was at this evening reception we also announced to the friends and supporters about our Mizzima Key Campaign.
First of all, I would like to inform you that we have received tremendous encouraging responses from our Mizzima staff and their relatives as well as well-wishers of Mizzima about the Mizzima Key Campaign. From the day we launched Mizzima Key Campaign on 21 June 2019 till yesterday 2 July 2019 (within 11 days), we have been able to get a pledge of a total (159) keys, with Myanmar kyat 7,710,000 from our Mizzima Key Campaign. Names of the supporters can be found in this weblink - http://building.mizzimafoundation.org/mizzima-key-campaign/
I was glad to see that apart from individual friends and supporters of Mizzima, our media partners such as Burma News International (BNI) and Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) have redistributed Mizzima Key Campaign details among their network members. Above all, more than half of Mizzima’s own staff have bought the keys not only for themselves but also for their nearest and dearest. That was the spirit of Mizzima that we all along have seen from the beginning in 1998 when we established Mizzima. We want to do our job of being professional journalists and media persons and we are always ready to sacrifice whatever we have to.
There were also a few responses that we read in the comments through Facebook that some of them did not understand what we are trying to achieve through the Mizzima Key Campaign. For them, they were not sure how and why we have the Key Campaign to build our own office. They thought it was the owner who would build the office and were unclear on why Mizzima was turning to readers and viewers to buy keys and build the Mizzima Office. Another interesting question that came out from some who are interested in buying the keys is that they asked the question “who owns the Mizzima Office” once we build it with the funds raised through the Key Campaign.
We explained that of course the Mizzima Building will be owned by Mizzima Media Group but the office building opens the door for those who supported the construction of the building. They will have their names mentioned and their keys displayed in a prominent place in the future Mizzima Building. We will make sure that the public have access to visit the Mizzima Office. We will make sure that there are facilities and space for Mizzima staff to work in a comfortable environment in the new Mizzima Office.
Our next step is for us to work to continue to drive the Mizzima Key Campaign in different towns of Myanmar to seek support and solidarity from the readers, viewers and friends of Mizzima for this new Mizzima Office Building.
I would like to also request our supporters from around the world to support us through this Mizzima Key Campaign so that we can secure our new Mizzima office building in Yangon where Mizzima staff will work and our Mizzima readers and audiences can visit.
“Own the Key to Independent Media”