The National Races Channel premiered on Sunday, becoming the first TV channel dedicated exclusively to Burma’s ethnic minorities which make up nearly 40 percent of the country’s 60 million people.
Broadcast from Naypyidaw by state-run Myanmar Radio and Television (MRTV), the new channel is currently only accessible in Rangoon, Mandalay and Naypyidaw, but is scheduled to be broadcast in other administrative regions as from 15 September.
The National Races Channel includes a variety of programmes in 11 ethnic languages: Kachin, Karenni, Skaw Karen, Eastern Poe Karen, Western Poe Karen, Laizo Chin, Asho Chin, Mon, Arakanese, Shan and Wa.
Programmes begin at 6am and run until 12 noon. Then the programs repeat themselves for the remainder of the day, said the channel’s deputy director Khin Sandar Aung.
“Currently we are airing mostly interviews,” she said. “But we intend to commence a full menu of programmes from 15 October.”
There are 158 staff working at the channel, with up to 13 staffers working on each nationality’s programming.