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The-long-march-to-university-reform-Photo-Thet-Ko
Photo: Thet Ko/Mizzima

Myanmar’s university students are known at home and abroad for their strident activism against dictatorship. In the old days, grainy images of defiant marchers, demanding greater rights and an end to authoritarian rule, circulated around the world.

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A street vendor reads a new private daily newspaper while selling newspapers and weekly journals at a roadside stall in Yangon, Myanmar, April 1, 2013. Photo: Lynn Bo Bo/EPA
A street vendor reads a new private daily newspaper while selling newspapers and weekly journals at a roadside stall in Yangon, Myanmar, April 1, 2013. Photo: Lynn Bo Bo/EPA

For more than forty years state media dominated Myanmar’s media landscape. State newspapers and television channels routinely fed the public the government’s view, often amounting to flat out propaganda.

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Soe-Myint-Mizzima
 

Last week two seemingly unrelated events attracted the attention of this writer. The first was the announcement in the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar that the temporary ID documents known as white cards will expire at the end of March and those who hold them will lose their voting rights.

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census-Myanmar
Photo: EPA

Later this year the government will release more results from the 2014 census. We have already learned that Myanmar’s population is 51,419,420, which is somewhat lower than many had guessed.

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KIA soldiers waiting for transport in KIA stronghold Laiza. Photo: Min Min
KIA soldiers waiting for transport in KIA stronghold Laiza. Photo: Min Min

On February 5 each year the Kachin Independence organisation and its armed wing, the Kachin Independence Army, celebrate Revolution Day, marking the moment in 1961 when rebellion began.

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The Central Bank of Myanmar building in Yangon. Photo: Bo Bo
The Central Bank of Myanmar building in Yangon. Photo: Bo Bo

When citizens have access to information about their government’s budget and opportunities to engage in budget debates, they can contribute to better, more effective policies and, ultimately, to better outcomes for people.