Myanmar profile

Burmese men reading newspapers Myanmar's military regime maintains tight control over the country's media

Myanmar's media have been strictly controlled since the 1962 military coup. Everything from poetry to films is censored, filtering not only criticism of the government but most bad news, including reports of natural disasters.

But under reforms introduced since 2011 by a new government, Myanmar, also known as Burma, has unblocked international news websites, exiled Burmese news websites and YouTube. In 2012, it lifted pre-publication censorship for the press and gave the green light for privately-owned daily newspapers to publish.

International organisations gave a cautious welcome to these moves. Reporters Without Borders said it was worried that "other, inappropriate measures will be adopted as an alternative form of post-publication censorship". The official censor, the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division, remains in place.

The state controls the main broadcasters and publications. Output is dominated by formulaic reports about the activities of the ruling generals and progress in the implementation of policies.

Foreign radio is a key source of information. The BBC, Voice of America, US-backed Radio Free Asia and Norway-based opposition station Democratic Voice of Burma target listeners in Myanmar.

Well-off Burmese have access to some international TV and a limited number of international publications.

There were 535,000 internet users by June 2012 (InternetWorldStats). The main limitations to access are bandwidth and the cost of connections, notes Freedom House.

Online censorship persists, but "the past year has seen a notable decrease in both the breadth and depth of filtered content", OpenNet Initiative (ONI) reported in 2012. ONI testing found that very few political websites were being blocked.

Facebook is the second most-popular website after Gmail, according to a 2011 exile press report. The platform is sometimes used by activists.




  • Radio Myanmar - state-run, operated by Myanmar TV and Radio Department
  • City FM - entertainment station operated by Rangoon City Development Committee
  • Democratic Voice of Burma - opposition station based in Norway, broadcasts via shortwave; web pages in English and Burmese

News agency/internet

  • Myanmar News Agency (MNA) - state-run
  • The Irrawaddy - Thailand-based website, in English and Burmese
  • Mizzima News - India-based website, in English and Burmese

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