25 May 2005
Source: Southeast Asian Press Alliance
A free and independent Burmese-language TV service–a first in history–starts broadcasting into Burma on 28 May 2005.
The new channel, put up and operated by the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), will bypass all controls and censorship mechanisms put in place by the country’s highly repressive military dictatorship.
“We estimate that the DVB TV programmes will be able to reach more than 10 million people in Burma, one fifth of the total population, via satellite,” the DVB said in a statement from Oslo. “Our mission is to provide accurate and unbiased news and to promote understanding and cooperation amongst the various ethnic and religious groups of Burma. Our programmes will also foster independent public opinion, enable social and political debate and encourage the spread of democracy, freedom of thought and human rights in Burma.”
Ever since a military dictatorship overthrew a popularly elected civilian government at the start of the 1990’s, Burma has consistently ranked as one of the most repressive societies in the world. No independent news or information service is allowed to circulate within or out of Burma. Journalists have fled to neighboring countries, and those who remain in the country are either in jail, in hiding, or working under one of the harshest regimes for news and information. The ruling junta monitors and censors all information circulating within the country.
Burmese thus currently rely on a handful of foreign radio services–Burmese-language programs from the BBC, VOA, RFA, and DVB, foremost among them–to get any kind of news free and independent of the military’s control. DVB itself began radio broadcasting to Burma in July 1992. Today, it is broadcasting to Burma via shortwave radio transmitter for two-hours daily.
Its foray into television marks a significant milestone in the struggle to provide the Burmese an alternative source of uncensored news and information.
DVB is funded by government and non-governmental organizations in Europe and America. For its satellite TV broadcast, DVB received funding from the Free Voice of the Netherlands, U.S-based National Endowment for Democracy and the Freedom of Expression Foundation in Norway.
DVB television programmes can be received via PAS 10, 68.5 Degree East, 3940 H, Symbol rate 3000 on every weekend – Saturday (Burma time 20:00 to 21:00) and the repeat on Sunday (Burma time 12:00-13:00).
For more information on DVB’s television service, interested parties may contact:
Aye Chan Naing (Director), tel – 47 22 86 84 86/47 911 077 43
Khin Maung Win (Deputy Director), tel – 47 908 002 63