UNESCO and International Media Support (IMS), together with the National Management College (NMC) in Yangon, have embarked on a comprehensive assessment of the media landscape in Myanmar, based on UNESCO´s Media Development Indicators (MDIs). The ultimate objective is to present key findings and recommendations that will guide policy-makers and stakeholders in their decisions on the development of media in the country.
The exercise started with a training workshop on media statistics in Nay Pyi Taw, led by UNESCO´s Institute of Statistics (UIS) and targeting the staff of the Ministry of information, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology as well as private media organisations (22-23 May). It was then followed by a two-day Media Development Indicator-based (MDI) training workshop in Yangon from 28 to 29 May 2014 addressed to the project’s core research team from the Journalism Department at NMC, IMS and UNESCO representatives. The workshop was conducted by media development expert, Steve Buckley, and it provided the 13 participants with an introduction to the extensive list of media indicators. The participants were also trained on the various tools and resources available to them.
Myanmar has seen substantial media reforms in recent years, and many more are in the way, especially in areas such as media legislation, media ownership systems and media diversity.
Establishing a Consultative Committee to guide the process
To ensure national ownership of the assessment and its recommendations, a Consultative Committee consisting of representatives from across the media sector was formed to advise the team on the research process and recommendations.
The Committee met for the first time on 30 May 2014 in Yangon. The meeting was attended by 11 members representing nine organizations spanning the government, civil society, media and educational sectors.
During the meeting, the Committee provided the research team with valuable insight on the implementation of the MDI indicators and gave its suggestions on maximizing the impact of the report’s recommendations.
Committee members urged the researchers “not to simply take the findings they gathered at face-value, but to delve deeper to ensure that their findings reflected the reality on the ground”. They also called for the research to be “broad-based and inclusive, in order to ensure that the findings would be sufficiently representative and allow for meaningful and relevant recommendations to be made”.
With the knowledge gained from the MDI training workshop, the research team will now formulate a comprehensive research plan – in close liaison with the Consultative Committee – and start the groundwork needed. Preliminary findings will be reported to the Third Media Development Conference to be organized in Yangon in September this year. The final report is expected to be ready in the first quarter of 2015.