Voice of America’s East Asia Pacific Executive TV Producer Susan Jackson recently conducted “Best Practices for Reporting” training with Burmese affiliates SkyNet and MRTV. The training sessions aimed to encourage free flow of information and a reliable standard for reporting ahead of Burma’s second general elections in 2015.
Representatives of SkyNet, MRTV, and VOA’s Burmese office participated in the five-day training session, which covered topics as diverse as equipment operation, shooting, and editing. Accuracy, balance, comprehensiveness, and objectivity were emphasized as essential themes with the goal of transforming trainees into mentors able to implement such practices upon their return to their workplaces. Rules of ethical and responsible reporting, safety and balance, story construction, and interview techniques also found special attention.
Attendees of the training gained practical experience in interviewing artists affected by changes in the political environment. Artists at three galleries shared stories about their new-found freedoms under Burma’s new government, which now permits them to paint subjects once forbidden.
Reporters also covered the Miss Universe Myanmar pageant, marking Myanmar’s participation in the contest for the first time in fifty years.
Trainees expressed a desire that the training should have been longer, a sign of their dedication to an industry that now enjoys a viewership of 16 million people. The government of Myanmar has stated that the Ministry of Information wants to place even more responsibility for reporting and entertainment in the private sector.
SkyNet’s Executive General Manager Thet Win was quoted as saying, “We don’t need guns or bullets, we need knowledge; English. Our people don’t want to hold arms – they want to hold computers … What we want is knowledge so we can decide what is good and bad. The younger people yearn for education in business, science and technology. The young generation wants an emerging economy. They have tasted it and want more.”