A packed house of NGOs, outside media organizations, and journalists attended an informative and insightful roundtable presentation at Radio Free Asia’s Washington, D.C. headquarters on September 12. “Myanmar at a Media Crossroads: A Roundtable on Journalism’s Challenges and Impact during a Nation’s Historic Transition” featured photojournalist Tom Cheatham and National Endowment for Democracy Senior Director for Asia and Global Programs Brian Joseph – each of whom has repeatedly visited Myanmar recently – and RFA’s Myanmar Deputy Service Director Khin Maung Nyane.
Each spoke of the rapid changes in Myanmar outpacing the country’s emerging journalistic infrastructure, training of journalists and development of distribution channels needed to support the growth and vitality of independent media. They also spoke of a trend toward self-censorship as a result of institutional impediments still in place from the long history of government ownership and continued media oversight.
RFA’s Myanmar Service broadcasts four hours of radio daily, seven days a week, into the country; and 30 minutes of television daily during weekdays with repeat broadcasts on weekends. Attendees included representatives from Reporters Without Borders, State Department, USAID, U.S. Campaign for Burma, National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, International Center for Journalists, National Democratic Institute, International Republican Institute, Project 2049, Human Rights Watch, the Stimson Center, and National Geographic, among others. The event was moderated by RFA Media Relations Manager Rohit Mahajan and organized by the RFA Communications Department with the Myanmar Service.