Burma News International (BNI) asked the government to stop blocking Rakhine and Karen media outlets from mobile phone users.
“This is a crucial time for the news media to distribute accurate and timely information to the people,” said Nan Paw Gay, the chairperson of the BNI policy committee, in a press statement. For the democratic process to move forward and develop a “sustainable peace process” it’s crucial not to prevent freedom of expression.
During the Covid-19 pandemic the people of Burma must have access to vital information about the current crisis, Nan Paw Gay said. While countries around the world rely on the media to know what’s happening and how to keep themselves and their families safe during this time of uncertainty it’s just as crucial for the people living the ethnic states and regions to have reliable and credible information through their own independent ethnic news organizations.
Narainjara and Development Media Group (DMG) news websites were blocked about a week ago. Although DMG is now accessible, Narainjara is still being blocked.
Karen News content wasn’t available for MPT mobile users on March 26.
Narinjara and DMG media groups regularly cover the conflict between the Burma Army and Arakan Army and the internally displaced persons in northern Rakhine State.
The BNI statement asked the government to stop censuring ethnic media news coverage in Burma, requesting assistance from the Myanmar Press Council to end the media blackout.
BNI was formed by Mizzima, Narinjara News, Kaladan Press Network and Khonumthung News in Kolkata in India in 2003. BNI now has 16 member newsgroups from all over Burma.