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Building a free press from the ground up in Myanmar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the change in government in Myanmar, a new broadcasting act is to be put in place that will allow private television broadcasting for the first time in the history of the country.

It is a critical time for Myanmar, which had been ruled by military dictatorship from 1962 to 2011, and with former military leaders continuing to maintain power in parliament since that time. After a parliamentary election on November 8, the NLD party that supports liberal democratic values won a landslide majority vote and now has the mandate to govern.

The importance of a free media in developing liberal public institutions will make itself very apparent in the near future and the level of press freedom that will actually be allowed is something to monitor. Myanmar currently ranks 144th out of 180 nations on the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index. Harassment and imprisonment of journalists was widespread in Myanmar as recently as 2014.

This is why institutions like DW Akademie can make a huge difference. As Germany’s largest media development organization, it has been deeply engaged in media development in Myanmar since 2012. With the changes in the past year, DW Akademie’s activites in Myanmar have been greatly expanded. In October 2015, DW Akademie worked in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and organized a series of workshops to introduce how community broadcasting works. Myanmar also elected a press council and DW Akademie representatives attended the ceremony. Earlier in 2015, DW Akdemie organized a training program for local journalism teachers that will help support the development of local media and promote a culture of quality media at its roots.

DW has also been a consistent trusted advisor to the state broadcaster MRTV and in 2014 helped found the Myanmar Journalism Institute, the first private journalism school in Myanmar. At a recent event, organized by DW Akademie in Yangon, DW’s Director General Peter Limbourg met with media representatives to discuss the opportunities and challenges of the transition.

There has also been criticism of a 2014 News Media Law in Myanmar from the free speech watchdog Article 19, with the safeguards for media freedom being,”heavily qualified and insufficient to meet international standards.” The media situation began to look better on paper, but according to Article 19, the laws often relied on imprecise legal language that doesn’t fully guarantee freedom of expression.

Besides the trappings of governance, there is also the issue of developing a confident and effective media culture in Myanmar, so that journalists know how to do their jobs and take advantage of their potential new freedoms.

Though the transition into a free media market will be a bumpy ride for broadcasters and other media operators in Myanmar, an essential aspect of quality journalism begins from the ground up. If journalists posses skills and resources, combined with freedom to report and produce stories that have a positive effect on the social development of Myanmar, the business side of the problem could have less of an adverse impact. If the new government continues a legacy of bureaucratic and back-door control of the media, it will say a lot about where the country is heading.

Date

2015-11-27 | 4:16

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Market roundup: November 2015

Africa
The news websites Focus Guinée und Guinée Signal are now DW partners for online content in French. The radio stations RTCT, Radio Télévision Communautaire Oasis and Radio Télévision Communautaire Ondese are now DW partners in Congo. They are broadcasting DW’s radio program daily in French and Kiswahili.

R2A Radio Azur in Togo is now broadcasting Learning by Ear, as well as the morning and evening shows in French and the evening show in Hausa.

In Cameroon, DW has three new partners for TV and radio. TV+ Cameroun will be including DW’s English channel in its portfolio, Canal2 will be broadcasting select programs like Made in Germany and Conflict Zone and CBS will broadcasting radio programs like Learning by Ear and AfricaLink.

UTV Ghana and Light TV are now DW partners as well, broadcasting programs like Kick Off! and Business Brief. Also in Ghana, Vision 1 is now broadcasting DW’s radio program AfricaLink as part of its lineup.

North America
DW is now working with MHz Networks in North America to distribute the English channel DW. MHz will now be broadcasting a three-hour block of DW from 15:00 to 18:00 (Eastern Time), which is picked up by DirectTV, more than 31 PBS stations and many other cable networks. It’s available in markets like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago and reaches more than 40 million households.

Online
DW will be one of the first media companies to be included in Apple News with its own channel. The app has been included in the iOS9 launch.

Asia
The Indonesian website kompas.com is a new DW partner. Kompas will be integrated DW’s online content in Indonesian to its portfolio. It’s the 11th most popular website in Indonesia with 20 million active users and 40 million page impressions per month.

Europe
As part of a new coproduction, DW’s award-winning lifestyle program Euromaxx is now available in Lithuanian and broadcast on the public broadcaster LRT. DW’s Arts.21 is also being produced and broadcast by LRT in Lithuanian.

Date

2015-11-03 | 10:23

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DW and PopXport help support live music in Germany

German music needs a strong voice to be heard by the world and DW is actively involved.  Recently DW’s German music program PopXport was the media partner at an awards event organized by the German Commissioner for Cultural Affairs and the Media. The APPLAUS awards honored 64 outstanding independent clubs, and venues across Germany that help support young musicians and artists while contributing to a vibrant independent music scene.

PopXport already plays a large role in promoting German music as the media partner for the Initiativ Musik, a funding agency from the German federal government that supports new German music acts in every genre. Every month, PopXport features a new artist on the show.

The APPLAUS prize celebrates and supports small and medium sized music clubs and event promoters. The awards were divided into three categories with the top prize set at 30,000 Euros. A report on the awards ceremony is being aired on the PopXport episode starting October 16.

Date

2015-10-16 | 5:24

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Bringing the show to the audience

2015_10_07_shababtalk_selfie

DW’s Shababtalk was in Rabat as part of its Arab World Tour.

Even with all the possibilities for communication that exist today, there is still no substitution for real, human contact. That’s why, Shababtalk, the talk show for millennials on DW (Arabia) started its Arab World Tour.

2015_10_07_shababtalk_audience“The show has become a voice for young Arabs,” says Shababtalk host Jaafar Abdul-Karim. “That’s why we want to get closer to our audience and topics. A tour like this is the first of its kind in Arab TV programming.”

This past week, Shababtalk was broadcast from Rabat, Morocco, produced in cooperation with the television stations Al Oula and Al Maghriba. This was the third stop on the tour, after successful shows in Baghdad, Iraq and Tunis, Tunisia.

Under the Moroccan stars

2015_10_07_shababtalk_diskussionIn Rabat, Abdul-Karim invited guests to a different kind of television studio, set up in front of the gates to the city. This current show revolved around how the younger generation can influence political decisions in Morocco – something that strikes a chord with nearly everyone. The participants couldn’t come to a consensus either, with political representatives stating that everyone has a voice, to a podcast producer saying that the political elite “don’t even speak our language”.

This is a reaction that is typical for the show, which tries to shed light on different opinions. The editorial team behind the program addresses bold topics and social issues that are generally considered sensitive or a taboo in Arabic-speaking countries. Whereas young audiences perceive this as a welcome sign of openness, the show has repeatedly stirred the anger of conservative forces and government officials in the region.

The Arab World Tour is just a further element of DW’s Local Heroes campaign. The next stop will be Cairo on October 24.

Date

2015-10-09 | 3:34

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Content that stands the test of time

In 1965, Transtel started out as an innovator in German media, being one of the first providers of German television productions for markets outside of Europe. And now, 50 years later, and with the cultural and journalistic expertise of DW as a backbone, that success has grown and DW Transtel has turned into one of Europe’s largest documentary providers.

When DW acquired Transtel as a partner in 1998, it was a perfect match that expanded and extended Transtel’s portfolio and added to DW’s image of an already strong brand in German international media. DW Transtel could provide both entertainment and information to audiences around the world under the global banner of quality – “Made in Germany”.

Over the years, the number of documentaries available has increased and today 150 are offered every year. They are available in at least three languages, which means DW Transtel can provide content for every taste, in every part of the world. Originally produced DW documentaries and globally-popular and recognizable programs like the European lifestyle journal Euromaxx complement the best of German programming and help make DW Transtel’s  catalogue of documentaries and programs  truly international.

DW Transtel is celebrating its 50th birthday throughout the year at events like MIPCOM in Cannes and other international media conferences, where DW Transtel has built a strong reputation over the years as a reliable content partner. From the 1970’s when soccer specials topped the list , to the intricately-produced variety of popular documentaries available today, DW Transtel continues to bring the best of German entertainment to audiences worldwide

 

Date

2015-10-06 | 3:13

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