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The Myanmar Journalist Association (MJA) has announced the winners of the 2015 National Press Awards.
Myat Khine, deputy-chairperson of the MJA, told DVB the awards honour those who are committed to an independent press in Burma, despite the risks and challenges.
Among the winners for the five award categories are: veteran journalist and Interim Myanmar Press Council member Pho Thaukkyar, for the Press Hero award; Reuters’ Soe Zayar Tun, for the Photojournalist award; cartoonist Ko Shwe Htoo, for the Press Cartoonist award; and the Democratic Voice of Burma, for the Broadcaster award, specifically for its recent coverage of the Kokang conflict.
DVB led the way in its television coverage of the violence in the Kokang regional capital of Laogai, in northern Shan State, most notably with its footage of an attack on a Red Cross humanitarian convoy.
Of the purpose of the awards, Myat Khine said, “We aim to promote an independent press. Previously we only had awards in fields such as literature and music. Back in the day, even the word ‘press’ itself was censored.”
“As the press is becoming more of an independent field itself we decided to start presenting the press awards,” he said.
The Best Opinion and Editorial award categories were omitted this year because of their potentially controversial nature, according to Myat Khine.
Pho Thaukkyar, the recipient of the Press Hero award, said, “I am very happy to have won this prize. I’ve been a reporter all my life and for a reporter, there can be nothing as priceless as a winning a press award.”
The winners will be given the awards along with one million kyat in prize money each at a ceremony scheduled at the Mya Yeik Nyo Hotel in Rangoon on 31 May.
The MJA was founded on 11 August 2012 by journalists, and is currently chaired by Ko Ko, the Yangon Media Group chairman.