Today's news, tomorrow's lesson

The news that journalists in Myanmar will no longer have to submit stories to the state before publication has been greeted with cautious optimism.

Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 20 August

Half a century of press censorship draws to a close in Myanmar


The news that journalists in Myanmar will no longer have to submit stories to the state before publication has been greeted with cautious optimism.

Censorship laws have been relaxed this week; previously all stories had to be passed by the Press Scrutiny and Registration Department (PSRD) before they could go to press.

Although the state will continue to monitor newspapers, Tint Swe, head of the PSRB, told AFP news agency: "From now on, our department will just carry out registering publications for keeping them at the national archives and issuing a license to printers and publishers."

The relaxation of the laws surrounding journalism came only weeks after a protest over the freedom of the press. Nearly 100 journalists, many of whom wore T-shirts bearing the slogan "Stop killing the press", gathered in the city of Mandalay after the PSRB suspended two journals, Voice Weekly and the Envoy, for violating unspecified regulations.

While the change in legislation has been welcomed, scepticism remains about how much freedom the changes will give journalists and editors. Independent news organisation Democratic Voice of Burma noted on Twitter that criticism of the state will continue to be forbidden. The Associated Press also reported on comments by Nyein Nyein Naing, an editor from Seven Day News Journal, who noted that stories will still have to be submitted to the board after publication, allowing the PSRB to check if any stories fall foul of publishing laws.

Questions for discussion

Primary

  • 1.) Are newspapers important? Why do we have them?
  • 2.) Can you think of a time when you had to think twice before saying something?

Secondary

  • 1.) Why do you think that people were protesting about 'killing the press'? Why might press censorship be negative for society?
  • 2.) Should we have complete freedom of speech? Can you think of any instances where censorship might be necessary?


Related resources


Ultimate power

  • Can complete power of a state and its people really be achieved? Explore this question in a philosophical history unit.

Press regulation in UK

  • Explore whether newspapers in the UK act legally with this PowerPoint about the Press Complaints Committee.

Freedom of speech

  • Get students debating about the importance of free speech with this debate guide from instituteofideas.

Press freedom

  • Read this article from the TES magazine archive, written to mark World Press Freedom Day 2012.

Further news resources


First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

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A women-only city is being built in Saudi Arabia in a bid to allow more females to pursue careers.

A strong gold medal haul for Team GB during London 2012 has led to a busy week for the Royal Mail, which is painting postboxes across the country gold in honour of the success of Britain's athletes.




In the news archive index