Newly appointed Information Minister Ye Htut met for the first time on Saturday with representatives of Burma’s Interim Press Council (IPC) to discuss the regulations for the new media law.
DVB interviewed news editor and Press Council member Chit Win Maung to learn what transpired.
Q: Can you tell us what was agreed at Saturday’s meeting?
A: The Information Minister came to our office for an informal meeting, primarily to discuss the regulatory provisions that will make up the Printing and Publishing Registration Law and the Media Law. We agreed to hold monthly meetings and improve cooperation between the two bodies.
Q: Regarding the discussion on regulatory provisions – did it include negotiations on the points that have been the subject of dispute between the two bodies?
A: The Printing and Publishing Registration Law has been approved but the regulations are yet to be announced, as everyone knows. The minister presented the provisions drafted by the Ministry of Information and we spoke with him about which points we would like to see amended. Likewise, ministry officials evaluated the provisions we drafted for the Media law.
Q: You mentioned holding monthly meetings between the ministry and the press council. What will be the purpose of these meetings?
A: The intention is to discuss and negotiate media-related issues and matters concerning either the press council or the ministry.
Q: Could we say that this meeting with Information Minister U Ye Htut – following disputes between the government and the media – was an attempt to rebuild relations between the two sides?
A: Yes, it could be regarded as such. The minister told us that his ministry, rather than playing the role of supervisor of the Press Council, would like to work side-by-side with us, and discuss all matters with us.
The new information minister, U Ye Htut, as everyone knows, is a very open speaker. With the previous minister [U Aung Kyi], we were not able to openly discuss certain issues – there was too much formality – but we feel we can talk openly with U Ye Htut about the issues we have and vice-versa.
Read statement by Ministry of Information here