Govt Agreed to Issue License for Chin Media
12 December 2012: A delegation of Peace-making Work Committee of Burma’s government gave the green light to proposals of the Chin National Front (CNF) regarding issuance of licenses for registration and publication of community-based media in Chin State.
During the three-day peace talk between CNF’s representatives and members of government’s peace committee last week, both parties agreed that Chin community-based organizations would be granted permission to start activities of mass communication in Chin State.
The agreement said the parties agreed to issue licenses for registration and production of newspapers, journals, magazines, newsletters, radio, internet and television programs and other works relating to community-based organizations in accordance with the law.
According to the peace deal, the two parties, along with the Chin State government, also agreed to work together for the establishment of radio program to be broadcast in different Chin dialects to facilitate better interactions and to promote media among the Chin people.
Salai Thang, from Rangoon, said: “In principle, we welcome the agreement. But it is essential that this does not conflict with the upcoming media law when it is practically applied at the implementation level.”
“Otherwise, the agreement might just become ineffective,” added the editor of the Chin World Media, an internet-based Chin news agency preparing to publish its first journal in Burmese in Rangoon early next year.
Printing and publication in ethnic languages have been severely restricted or completely banned in some cases across Burma for decades by Burma’s authorities.
Hailing the new outcome as a great achievement of the CNF-government peace talks, Salai Ceu Bik Thawng, General Secretary of the Chin National Party (CNP), said further cautious consideration needs to be taken as the agreement provision on media can only be put into practice in accordance with the law.
“The first point is to make sure that a license is dealt with in light of the agreement, not in accordance with the existing law. And secondly, the existing law requires each ethnic media production and publication to be translated into Burmese.”
“We strongly believe and hope that these layers of barriers in the past facing ethnic nationalities in our country would be lifted by the peace-talk agreement,” added Salai Ceu Bik Thawng.
The second round of Union-level peace talks held in Rangoon on 7-9 December came to a conclusion with 27 points reached from proposals by the Chin armed group fighting for self-determination, democracy and federalism in Burma since 1988.
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang