Sixth Media Development Conference to discuss ways forward for media sector

06 December 2017
Sixth Media Development Conference to discuss ways forward for media sector
Journalists covering a story in Nay Pyi Taw. Photo: Hong Sar/Mizzima

The sixth media development conference will kick off on December 7 at Chatrium Hotel in Yangon under the theme: “Media Development in Myanmar: Strategies and Way Forward”. 
This year the conference will focus on journalism ethics and professionalism, ethnic media and peace building, access to information and the safety of journalists among other topics. Key national and international experts across the media sector will share their experiences with the media community and development partners and discuss ways forward to strengthen Freedom of Expression and the development of the media sector in the country. 
The conference will run for two days from December 7 to 8.
Despite Myanmar’s gains in the area of media development and freedom of expression since the reforms started in 2011, the sector is still facing challenges. These include new threats to freedom of expression that are extending globally such as “fake news” and misinformation.
“In this context it is crucial that national and international media actors work together to strengthen the Myanmar media sector in an inclusively and effective manner. The Media Development Conference is a platform for doing just that,” says Mikel Aguirre Idiaquez, Project Officer, UNESCO.
This year’s conference invites for an interactive dialogue between the experts and audience to develop ideas and strategies that will help identify the opportunities and challenges that the sector is facing.
Peacebuilding, safety & access to information in the events of the Rakhine conflict, sessions will be devoted to talk about access to information, media’s role in peacebuilding, misinformation and safety of journalists. 
“With the country’s transition to democracy we need high, ethical journalism to report accurately on the difficult topics related to peace and conflict, both in Rakhine and in other parts of the country. Access to information and safety of journalists are essential ingredients in being able to practice professional and ethical journalism, and to counter fake news,” says Thiha Saw, Secretary, Myanmar Press Council.
Upholding professional ethics, media sustainability and media legislation are other issues that will be central to the discussions at this year’s conference. With experts from different sectors of Myanmar society, the conference will also bring experiences from countries in transition around the world.
Since 2012, the annual Media Development Conference has served as an opportunity for media stakeholders from across Myanmar to engage in dialogue with government representatives on issues related to the development of their rapidly-changing media sector. It is a rare chance for those who work in the media industry to speak face-to-face with officials responsible for media policy reform. This year’s conference is organized by the Myanmar Press Council and the members of Media Development Thematic Working Group in partnership with UNESCO, IMS-Fojo, DW Akademie, USAID, UNDP, and Ministry of Information of Myanmar.