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Burma’s Interim Press Council has advised journalists and media workers to follow a code of ethics that will safeguard them from government prosecution.
Press Council members have been visiting newsrooms and media offices around Rangoon to explain the new media code of ethics. Council member Thiha Saw, who held a talk at the DVB office in Rangoon on Tuesday, said, “The code of ethics is a bulletproof vest that will protect media workers from legal suits 99 percent of the time.”
Zaw Thet Htwe, another Press Council member said, “The code of ethics aims to offer protection to media workers and has been given the thumbs up by more than 4,500 journalists.”
The semi-independent Interim Press Council was established as an oversight body in 2012. It began drafting the media code of ethics at the end of 2013, and it was introduced in May.
A Council delegation met with President Thein Sein at the end of July in Naypyidaw, where they agreed to a mandate granting the Council mediation rights over disputes involving the media.
The Burmese government has been accused of backsliding on media reform in recent months, and a number of high-profile cases involving the arrest and jailing of journalists have hit the headlines.
Last month, a Magwe court sentenced four reporters and the CEO of Unity Weekly journal to ten years in prison with hard labour after being convicted of revealing state secrets.