DVB Debate: Is Burma ready for total press freedom?

This week’s talk show, DVB Debate, asks the question: Is Burma ready for total press freedom?

At a time when Burma is navigating its way through a democratic transition, is it appropriate to give the press free reign or should the media be regulated until the country is more stable?

Panelists this week are: Pe Myint, editor for People’s Age Magazine; Nwan Ja Thine, an author; and Tu Tu Tha, the editor of the Burma section at Irrawaddy Magazine.

Several studio guests suggest that, despite the fragility of the transition period, freedom of the press is an essential right. Others disagree and believe that the media, like all institutions, must be subject to regulations.

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Pe Myint claims that the existing laws that regulate the press are still suitable today.

“What we are saying is that a code of conduct and laws for journalists already exists. We don’t need to come up with any new laws,” he said.

“There are mature and immature journalists, and not everyone is ready yet. Therefore its better if we just continue with the way things are now,” said author Nwan Ja Thine.

Studio guest and author Kyaw Htet Aung stepped in to disagree with Nwan Ja Thine’s statement.

“We have to give complete media freedom,” he said. “And complete media freedom means not controlling media by any laws or regulation.”

Several voices in this studio debate believe that freedom of the press is a basic right and should be implemented immediately. Others urge patience, pointing to Burma’s current period of transition and reform. And some are of the opinion that while the media and the public are hungry for press freedom, the government doesn’t share their appetite.

Next week on DVB Debate: Has social media taken over our daily lives?

You can join the debate and watch the full programme at: www.dvbdebate.com

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