Burma’s Minister of Information Ye Htut has warned television and radio outlets that they risk losing their broadcasting licenses if they air material deemed to be biased when covering the upcoming general election.
Speaking at a ‘Code of Ethics’ meeting in Naypyidaw on Saturday, Ye Htut called for strict measures to prevent media bias and urged broadcasters to ensure balanced coverage of all political participants in the elections.
According to the Code of Ethics announced by the Union Election Commission (UEC), TV and radio broadcasters are prohibited from airing material that promotes a particular political party or a specific candidate. All campaign advertising is also banned.
Media agencies covering the elections are also duty-bound to abide by the laws, bylaws, directives and ordinances announced by the UEC, and the Election Reporting Manual released by the Interim Press Council.
Interim Press Council member Zaw Thet Htwe said, “At the moment, there are only two types of broadcasters in our country – government broadcasters and private broadcasters affiliated with the government. It is highly unlikely these private broadcasters will air material that will irritate the government.”
The meeting on 27 June was joined by Deputy Information Minister Paik Htwe and representatives of the following private broadcasters: Forever Group; Shwe Than Lwin Media; Mandalay FM; Pyinsawadi FM; Cherry FM; Padamya FM; FM Bagan; and Shwe FM.