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IPI-Puruesh-Chaudhary
 

How can journalists reconcile the need to share information with the danger that the news they report could potentially incite violence or spread panic?

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‘More women should have their voices heard and addressed in the peace process’

British-Minister-Lynn-Featherstone
 

British Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone has been visiting Myanmar in her capacity as the UK’s champion for tackling violence against women and girls overseas. Mizzima Weekly’s Matt Roebuck spoke to Ms Featherstone about her visit.

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Kraisak Choonhavan, conservationist, human rights activist

Kraisak-Choonhavan
 

Thai conservationist and human rights activist Kraisak Choonhavan has long campaigned against hydroelectric dams. Dr Kraisak, an academic for 20 years before he entered politics with the Democratic Party, was a member of the Thai Senate from 2001 to 2006 and served as chair of its foreign relations committee. Dr Kraisak is president of the Bangkok-based Freeland Foundation, which campaigns against wildlife and human trafficking in Myanmar and the region, and is a senior advisor to Thailand’s National Human Rights Commission, which has been investigating the role of Thai companies in plans to build dams on the Thanlwin (Salween) River. Mizzima Weekly’s Geoffrey Goddard sat down with Dr Kraisak for a wide-ranging discussion about dams and Thailand’s energy policy.

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Mr David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Photo: United Nations
Mr David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Photo: United Nations

How can ongoing legal changes in Myanmar – still emerging from nearly five decades of isolation – lead to an atmosphere that promotes press freedom, rather than limiting it?

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Thu Thu, actress, medical student, road safety ambassador nominee

Thu-Thu-actress-medical-student
 

Import liberalisation since 2011 has resulted in a massive increase in the number of vehicles on Myanmar’s roads and a corresponding sharp rise in traffic accidents. Figures released by the Myanmar Police Force and the World Health Organisation show the number of reported road accident fatalities in 2013 was 13,907. That’s a death rate of 7.6 for every 100,000 people, or three times higher than 2006 when it was 2.5 for every 100,000 people. Actress and soon-to-be-qualified doctor Thu Thu, also known as Chit Thu Wai, has been nominated to become Myanmar’s first road safety ambassador. Thu Thu told Mizzima Weekly’s Oliver Slow she wants to use her celebrity status to spread a road safety message.

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Lain Hall, UNHCR senior field coordinator, Mae Sot, Thailand

Mae La camp. Photo: EPA/NARONG SANGNAK
Mae La camp. Photo: EPA/NARONG SANGNAK

Myanmar refugees in Thailand faced a turbulent year in 2014. Big funding cuts to humanitarian organisations reduced food and other necessities available to those living in camps. In late May, after the Thai military seized power in a coup, long-standing restrictions on movement outside the camps were enforced and a curfew was briefly introduced. Apprehension among refugees was exacerbated when Thai authorities conducted a head-count in some camps in July. Thailand is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, but has provided shelter and protection for more than 1.3 million refugees since 1975, including about 120,000 refugees in nine camps along the Thai-Myanmar border, most of whom are Karen. Iain Hall, senior coordinator for the United Nations refugee agency, the UNHCR, in the Thai border town of Mae Sot, spoke with Mizzima’s Portia Larlee in a wide-ranging interview on the future of the refugees.