German ambassador congratulates journalism graduates

23 July 2016
German ambassador congratulates journalism graduates
German Ambassador Christian-Ludwig Weber-Lortsch congratulating the graduates of the Myanmar Journalism Institute in Yangon on 21 July 2016. Photo: MJI

This week the German Ambassador to Myanmar congratulated graduates of the Myanmar Journalism Institute saying they had chosen a noble profession.
Speaking at the event on July 21 at the institute German Ambassador Christian-Ludwig Weber-Lortsch said the foreign partners of Myanmar Journalism Institute, including the German Embassy, are proud of their commitment and success. 
“You have chosen a noble guild. After all, it makes a difference whether one sells news or nuts,” he said.
“The media industry requires a special dedication. As Albert Einstein put it: ‘The search for truth is more precious than its possession’. Very true, indeed!” he told the attendees at the ceremony.
He said they had passed the first test. “Now you have to implement and live the lessons learnt. For the benefit of your great Nation and the people of Myanmar.”
As he said in his speech, noting he started his Asian career as Spokesman of the German Embassy in Beijing in the mid-eighties: 
“Today, professional media compete with twitter, Facebook and amateur bloggers. Speed can distort the truth. Quality journalism requires time and research, whether online, print or TV. Facebook and friends only provide a platform, a market place for both, trash and treasures.
“Quality makes the difference and will help you to make a decent living in the future. Like every craft, the essential skills and ethics of journalism have to be and can be learned.
“Myanmar’s Media today range among the freest in the region.You are the first generation to enjoy this freedom. Use it or loose it! You are privileged: Our guest of honor, U Aung Shin, spend 14 years in prison before he could reach todays position.
“Government and Media are neither natural friends nor eternal enemies. They are professionals that need each other: Politicians have to explain and sell their views, Journalists want to peep behind the screen into the kitchen of power to pick up and sell the unfiltered story. In the end, all sides will profit from a free flow of information. Censorshipped countries lose opportunities.
“Don’t take me wrong: Press-freedom does not include a license to snipe and kill. Professional reporters investigate independently, but they should write respect- and tactfully, avoiding insulting or poisoning attacks on people and institutions.
“After spending half of my professional life in Asia, I know about the cultural differences and sensitivities. However, I believe in a few universal rules: Be short, simple and straight! To quote George Orwell: The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. Don’t squirt ink like cuttlefish,” he said.