Beyond Rangoon (1995) and Burma VJ (2008): How Western Media Approach Myanmar’s Politics The baffling political and economical changes in Myanmar, also known as Burma, have accelerated a very active debate trend among people associated with Western media…
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This left many reporters utterly frustrated as no freedom of speech was welcomed by authoritative bodies in the country. Regarding the global attitude towards Myanmar’s politics, most Western countries adopted a wait-and-see approach in addition to commenting that there might exist an opportunity of a positive change for the public now on grounds of “government pledges of reform and Aung San Suu Kyi’s expression of cautious optimism” (Human Rights Watch, 2012). Complete media freedom is yet to be seen in Myanmar but as a result of complete military control on media for the last 48 years, foreigners often used to know more about Burmese news than Burmese themselves previously (Rocchi, 2009). Most of what the Myanmar public would read was controlled by Mr. Tint Swe who was Myanmar’s last censor in chief and so it was his job to manipulate and change the literature written by journalists, critics, and scholars. It is explicitly claimed by him that though the authoritative people in the censorship board did not arrest or torture any critic writing against the government largely made by former generals, still “we had to torture their writing” (Fuller, 2012). ...
It was a hectic job for the military itself also as controlling every facet of citizens’ lives was not exactly a very facile job (Fuller, 2012). The Western media is well aware of the fact that this was the choicest way of military governments in Myanmar to exercise control on the public. After about 48 years of continual censorship and literary torture, this strategy of scrutinizing the important material that was controlled by military is banned but before that the state was such that “even the yellow pages of the phone book passed through the censorship office” (Fuller, 2012). It is widely acknowledged outside Myanmar that the changes brought about inside the country which overthrew military government have to do a lot with the gradual realization process which made many bureaucrats decide that military rule and media propaganda was not sustainable and the work done by the censorship board did not comply with the global standards. Monks’ Protest also contributed a lot in bringing changes as it reportedly challenged Burmese Junta a lot. Thousands of onlookers back in 2007 cheered huge masses of Buddhist monks while shouting supportive slogans for the detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi (Mydans, 2007). It is commented by journalists that another factor which remained helpful in overthrowing military rule was the technological innovations which could not be scrutinized by censorship board. Burma VJ is an important example in this regard which according to a 2009 report made use of technology by providing “powerful evidence of the new ways in which oppression can be documented and world opinion swayed” (Anderson, 2009). According to another source, these video-journalists widely known as Burma VJs became a source of humiliation for the military
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“Beyond Rangoon (1995) and Burma VJ (2008): How Western Media Approach Literature Review”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/history/1457452-beyond-rangoon.
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