Friday, August 26, 2011

NLD leader Win Tin declines to participate in press award committee

Friday, 26 August 2011 12:23 Tun Tun

New Delhi (Mizzima) – A National League for Democracy leader says he will not take part in a Burmese group that says it will hand out national-level press awards. NLD central executive committee member Win Tin said he should not participate because he is a member of a political and civic group.

Win Tin, a former journalist who is now a leader in the
National League for Democracy, said he will not join a
media group that will present national-level journalism
awards in early 2012. Photo: Mizzima
On August 18, the Myanmar Writers and Journalists Association (MWJA), private media journalists and some officials of the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division (PSRD) announced the formation of a national press award committee whose plan is to present five awards.

The awards include best news article award, best feature, best news photo and best cartoon. The awards will be selected from news published in 2011 and be presented in February 2012. The organizing group has met opposition from some journalists on privately owned publications, who say the group has ties to the government and may not be objective.

“Yes, I’m a former journalist. But, they formed the awards assessment group with only people from the writers and journalists’ community. If a person of a party joins the group, I’m afraid it would have an adverse effect in the long run,” Win Tin said.

Officials from the national press award committee will not be included in the group that determines the actual awards, officials said. More than 20 people have been invited to join the committee that will determine the awards, but their names have not yet been disclosed.

“We will hold a formal meeting, and then we will release a press release to disclose the details,” Ko Ko (RIT), the secretary of the award committee, said.

The  PSRD director-general Myo Myint Aung, a former colonel and PSRD deputy director Tint Swe, are included in the organizing committee.

Meanwhile, the Eleven Media Group based in Rangoon has released a statement that it objected to the label “national level press award.” It was too early to present such awards, which should only be awarded after an independent Burmese journalists’ organization has been formed. Such an organization should not be influenced by the government, political parties, political beliefs or business organizations, said a statement on the Eleven Media Group Web site.

“A media group that gives out such awards should be truly objective and of the highest quality. If a group or person is beholden to outside parties, there could be bias and favouritism,” an editor in Burma said on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, officials with the foreign-based Burmese Media Association (BMA) said Burmese journalists should form independent media unions that do not include government officials to promote the media sector and improve the qualifications of journalists.

“I think we can create a media community in accordance with international standards. A media union that is independent and free from the influence of the government or a group should exist in Burma,” Zin Lin, the BMA vice chairman told Mizzima.

Eleven Media Group suggested that if media unions were formed, the leaders should be respected journalists who want to protect the rights of journalists and the press.

NLD central executive committee member Win Tin said: “I believe in independent media unions. We’ll would all be better off if we could establish independent unions.”

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