DW supports media development in Myanmar

The visit by a media delegation from Myanmar to Germany, organized by DW Akademie, is part of Deutsche Welle’s ongoing support of media development in the country. The project is supported by the Federal Foreign Office.

Following decades of censorship, Myanmar is in the process of liberalizing its media institutions. Deutsche Welle is assisting this transformation via its international center for media development, DW Akademie. It is currently hosting a high-ranking delegation from Myanmar, including Ye Htut, deputy minister of the Myanmar Ministry of Information, seven representatives from the state-run Myanmar Radio and Television (MRTV) and the Director of the country’ first semi-private TV-station MRTV 4.

Aside from Deutsche Welle’s headquarters in Bonn and TV studios in Berlin, the schedule includes visits to the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Press Office, the German Federation of Journalists (DJV), the ARD network of public service broadcasters and regional broadcasters Berlin-Brandenburg Broadcasting (RBB) and Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR).

At the various stops, the visitors are taking part in discussions and lectures on the role of the media in society and politics. Experts from the field are contributing their insights into the challenges of media restructuring and how established theories can be applied to Myanmar today. Many have drawn from their experiences with the change in the German media landscape following the reunification of East and West Germany. The key question is whether the German public service broadcasting system could serve as a model for Myanmar.

Years of cooperation

DW Akademie started providing training projects for media organizations in Myanmar in 2007. In 2009, it became involved in the establishment of the Myanmar Media Development Center (MMDC) – set up by MRTV-4. The process, which took three years, was also supported by the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) and Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

The MMDC opened in July 2012, with DW Akademie providing preliminary training for prospective TV professionals, followed by training for media producers in how to be trainers themselves. The graduates of the train-the-trainer workshop are to become teachers at the MMDC.

“A functional democracy needs a vital media landscape,” commented Gerda Meuer, Managing Director of DW Akademie. “This is why supporting the media transformation in Myanmar is the right thing to do. It’s very pleasing to see that our continuing work there is bearing fruit.”

DW Akademie is continuing its involvement at the MMDC, with more courses and workshops planned for 2013. It will also coordinate future international support for the basic and advanced training of media professionals in Myanmar and for the establishment of vocational institutes. A DW Akademie staff member has been stationed in Myanmar to work together with local partners. These efforts represent part of a sweeping plan for media development in the country.

Since February 2012, Deutsche Welle’s English-language TV channel DW has been available in Myanmar via direct-to-home provider Skynet – a nationwide network that offers telephone and Internet services in addition to television.

DW programming is also available on a number of other platforms in Myanmar, including the Forever Group’s pay TV network, which makes DW along with other international channels available to Myanmar audiences. Myawady TV (MWD), Myanmar’s second-largest TV station, as well as the popular state-run MRTV broadcast select DW programs and magazines such as Journal, Tomorrow Today and In Good Shape.