Chairman of State Administration Council Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing delivers the address at the affirmation ceremony of members of Myanmar Press Council

Chairman of State Administration Council Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing delivers the address at the affirmation ceremony of members of Myanmar Press Council

Nay Pyi Taw November 24

The affirmation ceremony of members of the Myanmar Press Council took place at Thabin Hall of the Office of State Administration Council Chairman, here, this morning, with an address by Chairman of the State Administration Council Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

Also present at the ceremony were SAC Vice Chairman Deputy Prime Minister Vice-Senior General Soe Win, council members U Thein Nyunt, Mahn Nyein Maung, Daw Aye Nu Sein and Lt-Gen Soe Htut, Secretary Lt-Gen Aung Lin Dway, Chief Justice of the Union U Tun Tun Oo, Chairman of the Union Election Commission U Thein Soe, Union ministers, the chairman of Nay Pyi Taw Council and deputy ministers, Chairman of Myanmar Press Council U Ohn Maung (Myinmu-Maung Naing Moe), vice chairmen, members of the MPC, the secretary and the joint secretary.

First, the chairman, the vice-chairmen and members of the MPC, the secretary and the joint secretary took affirmation in the presence of the Senior General.

In his speech, the Senior General said that today is a significant day not only for the news and media arena but for the State as those elected as the members of the Myanmar Press Council took affirmations. The press council can be seen in various forms in most democratic countries. It is a character for the development of the media arena as well as press freedom.

In reviewing the aim to form the MPC, everybody generally understands that the council shall protect the press freedom and rights and interests of the media personnel. Actually, the theme of forming the MPC is to protect the freedom of media and the interests and rights of media personnel and the people. On the other hand, media personnel need to help cover and publish the information in a free manner and are responsible for disseminating the correct and accurate information to the people.

For the citizens from the independent and sovereign country, the legislature, executive and judicial estates need to righteously focus on serving the interests of the entire people. Qualified and righteous media shall monitor three estates to perpetually straighten these three estates and support these estates with pointing out, criticizing and suggesting with goodwill. It is the primary duty of the media which is the fourth estate. Hence, the Senior General, since he has served as the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services, expressed his recognition over the media as the fourth estate of the State.

It can be reviewed that the Senior General’s meetings with the Myanmar Press Council showed his keenness to develop the media arena while emphasizing the role of the Myanmar Press Council. In retrospect, the Senior General met with the Myanmar Press Council two times in 2014, three times in 2015, two times in 2016 and two times in 2018 to enhance the relations between the Tatmadaw and the media personnel.

As Myanmar is building the Union based on democracy and federalism, emphasis is being placed on the role of the media. The News Media Law was enacted for the development of the media arena and its role in 2014 when the first term of the democratic government was elected by the people. The theme of the law openly expresses “for ensuring the media to clearly stand tall as the fourth estate”. It showed the respect and trust of the State over the media arena.

The Senior General said that he himself is very interested in the role of media and fulfilled the needs for the development of the media arena as much as possible. The Senior General affirmed that he would try to continuously fulfil the needs of the Myanmar media arena to contribute to the improvement of socio-economic life of the people in accord with the media ethics, to improve the news and media technologies on a wider scale and to be able to grasp the opportunities for pursuing the modern media technologies meeting the international standards and ethics.

Media, the fourth estate of a country, plays the main role in promoting expressions for democracy. It can also promote the transparency of government by imparting knowledge to individual citizens. It is important that journalists are well-informed. 

If we have knowledge of the situations of our country including religion, literature, culture and history as well as world situations, it will contribute much towards our jobs. This is why it is necessary to read and study constantly. Only then, will we be able to impart knowledge to the public?

As such, it is also necessary to act in accord with media ethics without racism, party attachment, personality cult and politicization. Then, journalists can live with their dignity and be reliable and trustworthy by the government and the people.

However, what we are seeing currently is like adding fuel to the fire instead of trying to reduce conflicts and ideological diversity. Such a situation can be seen in nascent democracies and developing countries.

Journalists are responsible for exposing truth based on news and information. Veteran journalist U Tun Pe once said: “Bonafide journalists and duty-conscious journalists are the shoulders and eyes of a country serving their tremendous duty.” Today, there are many biased journalists, unethical journalists and journalists who are dancing to the tune of alien countries without serving the interests of the State and the people. So, Myanmar Press Council is urged to ensure checks and balances as necessary.

At this opportune time, I would like to explain a bit about the democratic transition of our country. It is known to all that over 10 years ago, the Tatmadaw led the effort to adopt a multi-party democratic system and systematically established the institutions compatible with democracy. Although our country has changed into a democracy, the majority of people still need to distinguish between democracy and democratization. 

We can easily say that democracy is a system ruled by the people. But, we have to take systematic measures for democratization. When centralization is changed to democratic rule, we need a step-by-step process called democratization. We cannot adopt it overnight.

Different countries have different patterns of democratization.

Our transition pattern is that it is a process in which a multi-party democratic system emerged in accord with the provisions of the 2008 constitution based on the country’s objective conditions, socio-economic conditions and political culture experienced throughout history and they are compatible with our country’s prevailing situations. In another word, the 2008 constitution is the lifeblood of Myanmar’s democratization that we must respect without fail. All those stakeholders in politics have known that.          

Today is when the Tatmadaw, entrusted with State power, is assuming State duties after a state of emergency has been declared in accord with Section 417 of the 2008 constitution.

After taking over State responsibilities, the Tatmadaw is implementing a five-point roadmap. This roadmap is compatible with our country’s prevailing situations. We have been committed to implementing it till success is achieved.

Moreover, it is a time when the Tatmadaw is helping build the country into a fair, peaceful and developed one and I would like to urge all to make the country free from external interference, to cooperate peacefully in the domestic political process within the legal framework under such circumstances and to prevent destructive acts that create unrest through terrorism.

Taking a glimpse of major tasks of the press council under the news media law, one can see that the council is responsible for taking measures for publishing news independently in accordance with the law, supervising the dispute and complaint settlement committee to take action against journalists who fail to abide by disciplines and ethics, to com-piling the report of the annual meeting attended by all members of the council, holding financial negotiations and reporting to the head of state and holding its meetings at least every two months.

It is expected that the press council will be able to successfully serve the interest of the news media and the country and the people as it is made up of members and intellectuals from various media fields.

I would like to point out that the media and journalism should serve not the interest of a certain group of people or an organization but that of the entire people and the country and it is especially necessary for individual journalists to change their subjective visions into objective ones.

It is necessary to effectively make use of the media today, which comprise traditional media like television, radio and print media including newspapers and new media like social media, which is proliferating comprehensively within a short period. I would like to point out that the assistance, motivation, and guidance of the media play an effective role in the dissemination of knowledge and concepts about democracy among the public and in helping nurture educated youths who can stand correctly on education trends.

Today, it is especially important for the country to encourage all youths to be educated.

In developing countries like ours, the media sector is the main pillar for stability, peace and socio-economic development of the country at present and plays a major role in fostering educated generations that possess correct ideologies for leading the future and development of the future country.

It is important for the council to be powerful for the development of the media. As the council has been in existence to protect the rights and interest of journalists and people, the council is required to create the media that uphold ethics and interest of the people, to serve the interest of the media independently without strings and colours, to prevent incitement for instability by spreading fake news, incorrect news, hate speech and rumours and to monitor activities in accordance with ethical principles, rules and laws.

Then, the Senior General, the Vice-Senior General and members of the SAC posed for documentary photographs with members of MPC.

Then, the Senior General cordially greeted the members of MPC and hosted a tea party for them.