Burma News International (BNI) an umbrella organisation for ethnic Burmese media and the Myanmar Journalists Network (MJN) have been accepted as associate members of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA).
They were admitted to SEAPA at its annual conference held in Kanchanaburi, Thailand on 9th and 10th December according to the chairman of SEAPA, Mr. Eko Maryadi.
On 13th December he told Phophtaw News: “We have accepted two media groups, BNI and MJN as associate members of SEAPA as they both build basic capacity and will join us so we can work together for press freedom in the ASEAN region. Their capabilities also match with the objectives of SEAPA which is why we have chosen them as associates.”
Nai Kasauh Mon, a board member of BNI said having two Myanmar media groups as SEAPA associate members mean that media rights and security for journalists in Myanmar will be more supported than before.
He said: “We can give assistance in upgrading news quality or working for democracy and press freedom. In ASEAN countries reporters are being killed and put in jail. SEAPA is working on those issues, especially protection. I hope we can get more help from them for long-term support of journalists and access to resources for journalists.”
After being associate members for one year the organisations will be accepted as full members of SEAPA he said.
Ko Aung Thu Ya, the secretary of MJN said: “SEAPA is a very strong media alliance in Southeast Asian countries. They are good for freedom of the media and media security. Becoming a member of that alliance will make us stronger and give us many opportunities. Taking part in their training will be especially beneficial to us.”
SEAPA members are drawn from media organisations in nine Southeast Asian countries, but they do not yet include any media organisations from Singapore or Brunei.
Representatives from member organisations in all the other countries except for Laos and Vietnam attended the SEAPA annual conference.
SEAPA was established in the Philippines in 1998 with the support of the Journalists Rights Protection Committee from the U.S.A. It has two branches, one in Thailand and one in the Philippines.
Translated by Aung Myat Soe English version written by Mark Inkey for BNI
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