In February 2021, a military coup took place in Myanmar. In the months since, media freedoms have been increasingly eroded by the regime. Independent media outlets have had their licenses revoked, and journalists and citizens seen to be conducting any sort of news gathering activity are at risk of arrest and imprisonment. Mobile data and wifi services have been suspended, making it increasingly difficult for citizen journalists to utilise social media. As international media attention recedes, state violence, repression and coercion are no longer being reported on with the urgency they demand.
To shed light on the media blackout’s impact, both in Myanmar and abroad, we’ll hear from author Michelle Aung Thin, editor-in-exile of Myanmar Now Swe Win, and award-winning foreign correspondent Peter Greste. Together with host Zoe Daniel, they’ll discuss the importance of a free press in resistance to oppressive regimes.
What role does independent media play in keeping the world updated on the political situation in Myanmar? How can we best support suppressed media organisations and individuals? And what is required to refocus international attention on the violence inflicted by Myanmar’s military junta?
Presented in partnership with Amnesty International and Free Media Myanmar
Swe Win is the editor-in-chief at Myanmar Now, an independent news agency that produces features and investigations in both Burmese and English. As a former seven-year political prisoner during the military regime, Swe Win has a deep understanding of the country’s troubled past and the need for democratic change. Prior to joining Myanmar Now, he set up an independent newspaper, The Yangon Globe, after junta-era media censorship was lifted in 2012. Before that, he worked for the exile-based Irrawaddy magazine.
Professor Peter Greste is an Australian-born journalist, author, media freedom activist and academic. He is a founding member of the advocacy group, the Alliance for Journalists Freedom, and the UNESCO Chair in Journalism and Communication at the University of Queensland. He is also a regular contributor to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Conversation and The Guardian.
Michelle Aung Thin was born in Rangoon, Burma, grew up in Canada, and currently teaches in the School of Media & Communication at RMIT University in Melbourne. She is the author of several novels set in Burma. Michelle was the first Asialink resident to Myanmar in 2014 (funded by Arts Victoria) and was a National Library of Australia Creative Arts Fellow (supported by the Eva Kollsman and Ray Mathew Trust), researching in the Luce Collection.
Zoe Daniel is a three-time foreign correspondent, former ABC U.S. Bureau chief, Southeast Asia and Africa correspondent. Her book Greetings from Trumpland was released in March 2021.