Journalists, government and community leaders propose ways to strengthen media's role in peace-building in Myanmar
In partnership with the Ministry of Information and Burma News International (BNI), and with support from the European Union and the Kingdom of Sweden, UNESCO conducted a series of multi-stakeholder dialogues and roundtable discussions on the role of media in peacebuilding from April through August 2017 in Yangon, Loikaw, Mandalay, Thandwe, Hpa-An, Taunggyi, Mawlamyaing and Sittwe.
The dialogues highlighted the need to build strong lines of communication and mechanisms for information sharing among and between media, government officials, parliamentarians, community leaders, and civil society. They also pointed to the importance of professional, independent journalism, access to information, the inclusion of minority and women's voices, and media literacy. This latter point is vital. If people living in Myanmar -- including those affected by conflict -- do not understand the role of independent media and are afraid to speak to journalists, their voices and stories will be not heard and they will not be empowered to participate in the peace process.
BNI Executive Director, Nai Kasauh Mon says that the collaboration with UNESCO was important for ethnic media: “State governments and parliamentarians often don’t want to deal with ethnic media. They think we are too small and unimportant. But seeing us working with UNESCO captured their attention and interest in who we are and what we do. This is important because ethnic media ensure ethnic voices are heard and, without that, peace is impossible."
Noting the valuable recommendations and ideas that drew from the dialogues conducted in partnership with BNI, UNESCO produced a report aiming at inspire, and guide the design and programming of future media and peace-building initiatives in Myanmar. The report, includes specific recommendations to different stakeholders, including the Union and Regional Governments, Community leaders and CSOs, the media community, donors and media development organizations.
The report can be accessed here.