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Q&A: ‘We Have Propaganda In Our Brain’

Myanmar may be a politically freer country, but has many more challenges to media freedom today. In this chat with Reporting ASEAN’s Johanna Son,  Yin Yadanar Thein, the co-founder of Free Expression Myanmar, says the country’s undemocratic habits – including the Aung San Suu Kyi-led government’s policies toward the press – will take a long time to unlearn.

 

The Minefield of Reporting the Rohingya

Reporting on the Rohingya is a tricky assignment, requiring Myanmar’s journalists to pick their way between pressures from the government and from the public. Many avoid discussing the topic too much for reasons of personal safety as well as the political and financial survival of their news outlets, explains Johanna Son in this Reporting ASEAN analysis.

 

Q &A: Disaster Aid with an ASEAN Touch

ASEAN has a humanitarian and disaster response center, although many may not know it. The AHA Centre has been active in Myanmar’s Rakhine State – and has precious access owing to Myanmar’s comfort level with ASEAN – and in the wake of last year’s tensions in the Philippines’ Marawi City. This Q & A with the AHA Centre with Reporting ASEAN’s Johanna Son tells us more.

Looking for ‘ASEAN Way’ in the Rohingya Crisis

ASEAN has more credibility with Myanmar than other countries. But what ‘ASEAN way’ can it pull out of its hat to find a relevant, effective role in the humanitarian and political disaster flowing from the Rakhine state and refugee flows of mainly Rohingya people? Johanna Son looks at ASEAN’s options in this article published in the ‘Bangkok Post’.

 

 

New Rules, New Fears for Myanmar’s Migrants

Myanmar’s migrants, the largest group of migrant workers in Thailand, are no strangers to living with uncertainty. But the latest set of new rules about their registration – there have been several others over the years  – has many nervous about being able to continue to work in this Southeast Asian country. Than Soe Aung of Mon News Agency reports for the 2017 Developing Media fellowship of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance.

Exploring One ASEAN

Philippine businesses appear to have high comfort level with working with Vietnamese partners, and are also venturing into areas like Myanmar. Doris Dumlao-Abadilla of the Philippine Daily Inquirer reports in the second of a three-part series with the Reporting ASEAN programme.

Q & A: ASEAN A Toothless Tiger

As ASEAN takes stock of its record on its 50th anniversary, it would do well to adapt and change its non-interference policy, which prevents the association from being a genuine, effective ASEAN Community. In this Q&A, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights’ Charles Santiago talks to Reporting ASEAN’s Johanna Son about ASEAN’s shortfalls in human rights.

 

 

On the Rohingya, the ASEAN Meeting was the Message

Was it a step forward or a flop? The December ‘retreat’ of ASEAN foreign ministers to discuss the situation in Rakhine state made it crystal clear that the matter is a regional ASEAN issue – and that by itself is a marked difference from ASEAN’s handling of touchy ‘internal’ issues in the past, says Johanna Son in this analysis.

The Lady Comes Calling

The visit this week by democracy icon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will certainly brighten the spirits of the Thai people and could also lift the profile of the Thai junta and Myanmar’s top leader. Yet Achara Ashayagachat of the Bangkok Post argues that we shouldn’t romanticize too much about “The Lady” and her capacity.

Myanmar’s Deep Fissures Make Explosive Powder Keg

A sense of apprehension and impatience, at times reluctantly expressed but nevertheless real, is fast tempering the heady optimism about Myanmar’s political change nearly two months into the Aung San Suu Kyi-led government. Johanna Son analyses the reasons behind this feeling of discomfort in this piece for the ‘Bangkok Post’.

MYANMAR: Suu Kyi-led Gov’t Has Its Hands Full

Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi led her party to a decisive landslide victory in last year’s elections in Myanmar. Democracy may have won but real struggles regarding governance will be the true test of her leadership. Mia Gomez looks at the challenges the new government faces in this story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond”‘ programme.

Burma’s Puppeteers Put On Cross-Asean Performance

ASEAN integration comes in many forms – in this case, it’s with puppets. Puppet artists and musicians from around the region met with their counterparts in Myanmar to learn from each other and exchange ideas. Kyaw Hsu Mon of ‘The Irrawaddy’ looks at the outcome of the workshop in this ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ story.

Burma’s Media Landscape Through the Years

Recent years have seen dramatic changes to Burma’s media environment, with the previous quasi-civilian government taking steps to unshackle a press corps long muzzled by successive military regimes dating back to 1962. In the wake of World Press Freedom Day, The Irrawaddy revisits a media history stretching back to the 1800s in this article.

Tackling HIV in Myanmar Needs to Get to the Borders

MANILA, Dec 12 (IPS Asia-Pacific) – When Myo Thant, many years ago, forwarded a proposal that asked the government of Myanmar to help temper the rapid increase of HIV transmission and occurrence of AIDS in the population, his request was rejected. “Only Elizabeth Taylor works on HIV and AIDS,” he recalled one state official’s response written on his proposal paper, referring to the late American actress’ advocacy and philanthropy.

Burma’s Media Landscape: Better, but Still Far from Free

Oct 4 (The Irrawaddy) – Sitting in The Irrawaddy’s new office in downtown Rangoon as I write this, I can’t help but feel a strange sense of unreality. A year ago, I could hardly have imagined even being here, much less writing this commentary, which not so long ago would almost certainly have landed me in prison.

MYANMAR: Easy Does It, Foreign Donors Told

TOKYO, Oct 12 (TerraViva) – Foreign donors are rushing into Burma, whose government has been pushing the right political buttons as part of its democratic reform process. But development planners and Burmese activists here caution that the best approach should still be ‘easy does it’.

‘Flawed’ Human Rights Document Would Hurt ASEAN – Activists

In this Sep.26 open letter, human rights activists argue that “serious flaws” in the draft ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, set to be adopted by ASEAN later in the year, must be addressed. If not, they say, the declaration would “not bode well for the reputation and credibility” of the ASEAN human rights mechanism.

Myanmar, A Middle-income Country by 2030 – AsDB

BANGKOK, Aug 27 (IPS Asia-Pacific) – Busy shedding off its reputation as a recluse after decades of self-imposed isolation, Myanmar is playing catch-up with it neighbours and may well become a middle-income nation by 2030, the Asian Development Bank (AsDB) says in a report released this month.

Myanmar Turns ASEAN’s Democracy Beacon

BANGKOK, Apr 12 (IPS) – Long Southeast Asia’s black sheep, Myanmar is
enjoying an image change following its landmark Apr. 1 by-elections.
Tongues are now wagging about the region’s new beacon of hope for
democratic change.

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