Monday, August 22, 2011

Burmese government to welcome suggestions: Speaker Thura Shwe Mann

Monday, 22 August 2011 20:42 Mizzima News

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Suggestions and criticisms of the Burmese government by the media will be welcomed as a step in establishing freedom of press, Lower House Speaker Thura Shwe Mann said on Monday.

Lower House Speak Shwe Mann said the Burmese government will accept criticism and suggestions from the media to promote greater press freedom. He wore traditional dress during the opening day of the second regular session of Parliament. Photo: Mizzima

Shwe Mann said in his opening speech at the second regular session of the People’s Assembly, “We will accept the criticisms and suggestions made by news media, the public and the international community.”

The statement, if broadly applied in Burmese society, would mark a significant departure from the past. Much of the Burmese media is still restricted in what it can publish. Government officials still regularly censor newspapers and journals that cover politics and governmental affairs.

The Burmese Parliament in session during the opening day of the second regular session on Monday. Photo: Mizzima

Perhaps signaling a more open atmosphere, journalists who were not allowed inside the first regular session of Parliament on Monday were allowed to attend the opening day of the second regular session. More than 50 journalists attended the opening session.

Speaker Thura Shwe Mann told members of Parliament that it must be strong. “All of us need to learn through past experiences and do the necessary tasks with courage and unity in light of today’s circumstances.”

Thura Shwe Mann, who is known as a former military officer who wants to introduce reform among military personnel, also said MPs should work to improve their skills and qualifications.

“MPs need to listen to people’s voices, attitudes, desires and adopt laws for the sake of the nation and the people as soon as possible, and they need to help citizens and organizations obey the laws,” he said.

A total of 389 MPs attended the opening of Parliament, which is expected to remain in session for three to four weeks.

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