Asia

Myanmar profile - Media

  • 13 February 2015
  • From the section Asia
Burmese men reading newspapers
Myanmar's military regime maintains tight control over the media

Myanmar's media have seen a gradual easing of strict state controls imposed after the 1962 military coup. These saw the censorship of everything from poetry to films, as well as criticism of the government.

Under reforms introduced since 2011 by a new government, Myanmar has unblocked international news websites, emigre news websites and YouTube. In 2012, it lifted pre-publication censorship for the press and allowed privately-owned daily newspapers to publish.

But the state still controls the main broadcasters and publications and has a monopoly on telecommunications.

Action taken by the authorities against non-state media in 2014 - including prison terms handed out for a weekly's report about an alleged chemical weapons facility - was at odds with the reformist trend.

President Thein Sein said that "if media freedom threatens national security instead of helping the nation, we warn that we will take action under existing laws."

Around 48 per cent of households own a TV set. Foreign radio is a key source of information. Outlets include the BBC, Voice of America, US-backed Radio Free Asia and Norway-based online station Democratic Voice of Burma.

There were 625,000 internet users by 2014 (InternetLiveStats.com). The main limitations to access are bandwidth and the cost of connections, says Freedom House. Mobiles are a key means of access.

Internet users have taken to social media, with Facebook and Viber being popular destinations.

Press

Television

Radio

  • Myanmar Radio - state-run, operated by MRTV
  • City FM - run by Rangoon City Development Committee
  • Shwe FM - commercial
  • Cherry FM - commercial

News agency/internet