The Than Lwin Times, a Mawlamyine-based newspaper, which mainly covers news from southern Myanmar, will include news in the Mon language starting from February 12.
“This is a trial run of our journal as private daily papers and ethnic language publications will be allowed from April,” said the journal's editor Min Min Nwe. “In this issue, there will be three pages in Mon language: two pages for news and a one-page feature.”
This is the first publication in the Mon language in Myanmar since the military government banned all ethnic publications when they took power in 1962. The present government announced on December 28, 2012 that ethnic language newspapers would be permitted from April this year.
“When we applied for a publishing license for the Than Lwin Times, we also applied to publish in the Mon language by translating news and articles printed in our journal too,” said Min Min Nwe.
But at that time, there were no concrete procedures for granting ethnic language publications and the journal was not permitted to report in the Mon language.
The Than Lwin Times have also applied to publish a bilingual monthly magazine. They said that they would publish this new magazine before Mon National Day on February 26.
Around seven daily papers were published in Mawlamyine in the 1940s. Of these, the Yamanya Times Daily and the Mon Bulletin were bilingual.
Win Tin, a veteran and noted journalist, said that granting ethnic language publications would contribute to and complement the national reconciliation process.
“We need to make these ethnic languages flourish, but the important point is to make them work correctly,” Win Tin said.
When the National League for Democracy published the D-Wave journal, they initially included ethnic Kachin and Shan languages but they had to stop due to problems with translation, he added.
Several other ethnic state-based and Yangon-based journals plan to publish periodicals in ethnic languages soon.