Daily papers transform Myanmar news stands

Daily papers transform Myanmar news stands

YANGON - Agence France-Presse
Daily papers transform Myanmar news stands

Four Burmese-language titles, The Voice, The Golden Fresh Land, The Union and The Standard Time, will now print daily instead of weekly. AFP photo

Privately owned daily newspapers hit Myanmar’s streets yesterday for the first time in decades under new freedoms that represent a revolution for a media industry which was shackled under military rule.

Four Burmese-language titles, The Voice, The Golden Fresh Land, The Union and The Standard Time, made the transition from weeklies as new rules came into effect that swept away state media’s long monopoly on daily printing.

“We prepared for about six months to become a daily newspaper. We wanted to be part of this historical milestone,” Aung Soe, an editor of The Voice, said.

Rush by readers

News stands in Yangon reported an early morning rush by readers eager to witness the latest sweeping change in the country also known as Burma.

“The Voice daily sold out soon after it arrived even though I ordered double the amount than other newspapers. People are keen to read private daily newspapers for the first time,” said vendor Phyu Phyu.

Myanmar’s public has become accustomed to an increasingly boisterous media since the country’s quasi-civilian government relaxed its grip on the press after coming to power in 2011 and introduced other wide-ranging reforms.

Military rulers had seized control over private daily papers in 1964, according to veteran journalist Thiha Saw of Open News weekly.

A total of 16 weekly journals were allowed to become dailies under the new rules, including Suu Kyi’s party paper, but logistical challenges mean some were not able to make the move immediately. Among the front pages of the new dailies yesterday, the fragrantly titled Golden Fresh Land, also a sell-out at many news stands, covered an upcoming trip by Suu Kyi to Japan and President Thein Sein’s address to the nation about recent Buddhist-Muslim unrest.

The Union, which is close to the ruling party, focused on news from the capital Naypyidaw. The Voice printed an update on the situation in the western state of Rakhine, the scene of deadly communal strife last year, and a report on a weekend concert in Yangon by Danish band Michael Learns to Rock.