Myanmar : Creating the first independent school of journalism (11 March 2015)

This programme is the international community’s biggest initiative to promote freedom of the media in Myanmar. This project was drawn up in 2011 by the Cooperation and Cultural Action Service (SCAC) on the initiative of the French Embassy and was implemented on 14 July 2014.

This school represents one of the emblematic steps of the democratization process underway in the country. It was requested by the Myanmar authorities and provides training to journalists in line with international professional standards.

Through its training, the school helps to develop independent, pluralistic, reliable media outlets, which respect ethics and professional codes of conduct.

Objectives: build a culture of information and discussion

  • Put in place higher education for journalism to train media professionals;
  • Strengthen democratic mechanisms and good governance;
  • Develop high-quality media capable of building a culture of information and discussion.

Actors and partnerships forged

This project requires a coordinated response between France, via its operator CFI, and several European operators:

  • Fojo Media Institute (Sweden),
  • International Media Support (Denmark),
  • Deutsche Welle Akademie (Germany),
  • in collaboration with UNESCO. The European Union delegation in Yangon could support the project in the future.

Pooling European cooperation is fully in line with the principles of aid effectiveness for a structuring project in order to sustainably improve the choice and quality of media content in Myanmar.

This project was prepared in collaboration with the relevant local actors: The Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Education, journalist associations, press groups and bodies, universities, NGOs, etc.

An innovative, Europe-wide project

Emphasis is placed on achieving a high profile in Europe, ownership of the project by the Myanmar media and the commitment of foreign operators.

This project is indeed innovative due to its European dimension, as it is being led by several European countries: France, Sweden, Norway, Germany and Denmark. The synergy between European actors depends both on their complementarity as regards expertise and their respective financial contributions.

The project is aimed at all forms of media, including ethnic minorities, and is being followed by the various Myanmar press bodies and audiovisual media. This initiative is supported by the highest State authorities in Myanmar, as well as by Myanmar media and journalists.

Latest news

The initial 6-month pilot training programmes were held in 2014 as planned, with 15 students in Yangon and 15 in Mandalay. A new full-year session will begin in March 2015. The programmes have now been finalized and the training team is operational with the support of international experts, which is still necessary. Temporary premises have now been rented, the school strategy has been approved and the management team is in place.

In the coming weeks, the Embassy expects to receive formal agreement from the authorities confirming the school’s status as a non-profit organization. Its board of directors has been formed, supported by a joint steering committee with which the Embassy and CFI are associated.

The Myanmar Journalism Institute is currently training young journalists to cover the general election in late 2015, which aims to be the first free elections since 1990.

For further information on this training see LatitudeFrance (in French)

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