The Ministry of Information (MoI) is currently co-ordinating a plan with the News and Periodicals Enterprise (NPE) to sell news and photos to private media.
|The New Light of Myanmar. Photo: Mizzima|
Members of the media have reacted with surprise to this announcement.
“We haven’t heard of this kind of selling of information by government department in any other countries. The government has the responsibility to proclaim the information that the public needs to know, the media also has the right to ask the information from the relevant government department,” said Kyaw Min Swe, editor-in-chief of The Voice Daily.
He said that this practice seemed highly unusual as it is the ministry's duty to share information but that, “We will definitely buy from them if they are going to sell.”
Kyaw Min Swe also questioned the reasons for the decision and wondered if it is to raise funds for the government.
Kyaw Kyaw Aung, the head of the Myanmar branch of US-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) said, “The news that people need to know should be announced in a timely and transparent manner. If RFA do not have any other choice, we will buy the news information and news photos that people need to know.”
“This information selling by the government should not happen as all the news concerning the government will be monopolized as before, so the news will be always late,” said Thet Zin, Editor-in-Chief of Today’s Age Journal.
Min Naing, editor-in-chief of People’s Image said that government departments are still weak in providing up-to-date news so buying information directly from the relevant department could speed the process up.
D Min, chief editor of Yangon Times said that one good thing about the decision would be the ability for media outlets to buy breaking news, which might be announced late at night.
“It would be convenient for us if we could get breaking news, which might only be announced after the evening news at 9pm or 10pm,” he said.