Dear journalists and editors of DVB, distinguished guests from abroad, and very soon arriving Børge Brende, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs!On behalf of the Fritt Ord Foundation and the DVB Multimedia Group: Welcome to the seminar “DVB Operations and Myanmar Media: Past Experiences and Future Vision”! This is a seminar to commemorate DVB’s stay in Norway. DVB is on the move, leaving Norway, it is off to Myanmar.Besides journalists and editors of DVB, we have prominent journalists from other Burmese media, and exiled journalists from Belarus and Zimbabwe as well as journalists from South Africa and South Sudan, who are now able to work inside their own countries, that are here today to both learn from DVB, and share their experiences with DVB, on their new path as a commercial, independent media house in Burma.A warm welcome to you all!As many of you might know, The Fritt Ord Foundation is a private non-profit foundation that works to promote freedom of expression and public debate in Norway. We are both a grant-giving foundation, and we do run our own projects. On an international level, Fritt Ord has over many years supported Index of Censorship. A few years ago Fritt Ord established the Free Word Centre in London, a building devoted to freedom of expression, where both Index of Censorship and Article 19 have had their headquarters. Together with the German foundation ZEIT-Stiftung, Fritt Ord annually awards press prizes to journalists and media in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. The press prizes are intended to support the independent role of journalists, despite reprisals and financial difficulties, to encourage them not to be intimidated by censorship and to resist self-censorship.I would like to mention just two of our recent initiatives.In Norway the Fritt Ord Foundation recently established the Freedom of Expression Barometer of Opinion, the first comprehensive survey of the general public's attitudes to and experience of freedom of expression. The Foundation has also taken an initiative for a Monitoring Project designed to monitor the status of freedom of expression in Norway. The project is being run by the Institute for Social Research. The Monitoring Project is a comprehensive research project that will survey freedom of expression in a multi-cultural society, the digitalization and modification of the new media reality, the surveillance needs of society and the market, and freedom of expression in the work place.An important international exhibition and information project in the wake of the terrorist act perpetrated in Norway on 22 July 2011 will be opened to the public in spring 2014. With the tentative title “We live on a Star”, the project is a result of cooperation between the Henie Onstad Art Centre and the Fritt Ord Foundation.And so to our guests from far away - and what we are commemorating here today. The Fritt Ord Foundation has provided support for DVB for a number of years. We supported the establishment of the DVB radio in Norway in 1992. Ten years later, in 2002, the contact between DVB and Fritt Ord resumed, then with support for an international media conference in Oslo and for educational programs for the DVB journalists. In 2003 we extended our support to media training of journalists within Burma. Fritt Ord was actually the first foundation to support a pilot project, in 2004, under the auspices of the DVB that was aimed at setting up a TV station.We have subsequently followed up by providing substantial annual support for the media organization’s TV project. The Foundation has also provided grants for the production of the documentary film “Burma VJ – reporting from a Closed Country” which received an Oscar nomination in the category ‘best documentary film’. The Norwegian premier of the documentary took place at Fritt Ord in 2009. In 2010 we invited to a film screening of the documentary “Burma’s Nuclear Ambitions” and a follow-up debate together with DVB in Oslo. In 2011 Fritt Ord and DVB co-organized a preview screening of the documentary film “The Voice of Burma”. Both films received production support from the Fritt Ord Foundation.It was with great joy that we were able to invite Zarganar – comedian, film actor, director and former political prisoner, and Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi – poet, filmmaker and screenwriter, with help from DVB to take part in the opening ceremony of the First World Conference on Artistic Freedom of Expression, entitled "All That is Banned is Desired", at the new Opera in Oslo in autumn 2012. The session was most appropriately called ‘Beauty under Pressure’: about film, poetry and music in Burma.Two weeks ago members of the board of Fritt Ord visited DVB’s new premises in Thailand and Burma, accompanied by Khin Maung Win, Deputy Executive Director of the DVB. First stop was Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. We met the most engaged group of editors and journalists, working on different media platforms, in the midst of unopened boxes sent from Norway, a charming chaos. The working conditions – and the working spirit – are impressive. The TV-monitors in the DVB-building demonstrated the wide journalistic activity. The competence amongst the DVB was convincing. Next stop was Yangon, where another dynamic group, maybe a bit smaller, met the Fritt Ord guests. We were once again well informed of the ambitions and challenges of working in Burma. Hot topics are the new laws – a complicated mixture of laws and regulations, heavily debated when we visited.We also had a most enlightening morning meeting Zarganar, other artists, and other editors, and not to forget an eager group of quite young journalists, greating us with optimism and determination. I am happy to share with you the repeated praise of the exile radio- and tv- station:– DVB was our light in the darkness.This fall, the biggest journalistic event is the SEA games. Next stop was the capital Nay Pyi Taw – quite a change from the extreme traffic in Yangon, quite a long way to fill the streets of Nay Pyi Taw.Fritt Ord met the Minister of Information and his top leaders in the ministry. Fritt Ord – alas, thanks to our friend Khin – we also met and talked to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Our chairman Georg Rieber-Mohn told her about our visit and cooperation with DVB through many years. He mentioned that after our short week we are optimistic of the development. Suu Kyi replied: - I am carefully optimistic. You cannot just hope. You can only allow yourself to be optimistic if you at the same time work hard.I think these words sums up DVB’s effort over the years: hard work and a media adventure with no parallel anywhere. The small radio station, Democratic Voice of Burma, an exile opposition, more propaganda-like in the beginning, has developed into a professional multimedia organization. Yes, Fritt Ord is optimistic, and we enjoyed the beautiful landscape of Burma. Being a WWII-historian it was also a travel back in Burmese history. On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Khin Maung Win. He took a week off from his important work at DVB, and gave Fritt Ord an unforgettable journey into his home country and into the new world of DVB.At the Fritt Ord Foundation we will follow the new path of DVB in Chiang Mai, Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw with great interest, and also with understanding of the need for financial support in this crucial transitional period. I repeat – an understanding of the need for support … – hope you get the point. And now I turn to you – Aye Chan Naing, Executive Director and one of the founding members of the DVB. You have for many years been a driving force of the DVB, so we are honored that you will open this seminar. Together with the DVB staff you have created an independent flagship in the Burmese media landscape.(Gli speaker dell'evento, al quale hanno partecipato altre organizzazioni mediatiche extraterritoriali)1. Professor Guri Hjeltnes is a member of the Board of Trustees of Fritt Ord (Freedom of ExpressionFoundation), a Norway based DVB donor since the beginning and the host this event at their office2. Mr. Aye Chan Niang is Executive Director and one of founding members of the DVB3. Mr. Harn Yawnghwe is former Executive Director of the DVB4. Mr. Harald Bockman is Chairman of the Board of both DVB Foundation and Norwegian BurmaCommittee which helped DVB get started in 1992 in Oslo5. Mr. Maw Lin is Chief Editor of the People’s Age Journal, Myanmar6. Mr. Khin Maung Win is Deputy Executive Director of the DVB, and one of founding members of theDVB7. Ms. Eva Atterlov Frisell is Programme Manager at Swedish International Development CooperationAgency (Sida), a DVB major donor since the beginning8. H.E Børge Brende is Minister of Foreign Affairs, Government of Norway9. Professor Helge Rønning is a professor at the Department of Media and Communication, Universityof Oslo10. Mr. Kavi Chongkittavorn is a Thai journalist and member of Board of Directors of the DVB since200611. Mr. Jacob Akol works for Gurtong Trust Peace and Media Project12. Ms. Tu Tu Thar is an Editor of the Irrawaddy Magazine and Online (Burmese section)13. Ms. Jane McElhone works for Media Programme, Open Society Foundation14. Mr. Jacob Akol runs Gurtong Trust Peace and Media Project, South Sudan15. Mr. Thaung Htike is Chief Editor of True News Journal, Myanmar16. Mr. Toe Zaw Latt is Myanmar Bureau Chief, DVB17. Ms. Maria Sadovskaya-Komlach is a Senior Project Coordinator of the European Radio for Belarus18. Ms. Gerry Jackson runs Short Wave Radio Africa (Zimbabwe)19. Mr. Pe Myint is Consultative Editor of People’s Age Journal, Myanmar20. Mr. Kyaw Min Swe is Chief Editor of The Voice Daily Newspaper and The Voice Weekly Journal,Myanmar21. Mr. Wilf Mbanga is Chief Editor “The Zimbabwean Newspaper”, which is published in South Africaand circulation is made within Zimbabwe
26 novembre 2013
RItorno dall'esilio: la voce democratica della Birmania lascia Oslo dopo 21 anni e apre a Yangon
A volte ritornano. Nel senso che per fortuna anche le vicende politiche più intricate, le storie di opposizione ai regimi più sanguinari hanno un lieto fine. Il 21 novembre a Oslo, in Norvegia, si è tenuto un evento che ha coinvolto, in un lungo ringraziamento, le autorità norvegesi e l'organizzazione di Democratic Voice of Burma. L'emittente radiotelevisiva ha trasmesso dai suoi studi di Oslo per oltre 21 anni, essendo stata fondata da un gruppo di esuli birmani nel 1992 con il sostegno delle organismi umanitari in Norvegia. Fino alla prima metà del 2000 DVB trasmetteva esclusivamente in onde corte, decidendo poi di affiancare un servizio televisivo diffuso via satellite. Oggi le condizioni politiche della Birmania sono cambiate al punto che DVB ha deciso di ritornare in patria. Da tempo aveva spostato il grosso delle operazioni a Chiang Mai, nel nord della Tailandia. Entro l'anno l'ufficio di Oslo verrà definitivamente chiuso perché DVB sta già aprendo una sede a Yangon, nella sua Myanmar. Considerando che l'ente di Stato utilizza le onde corte per le sue trasmissioni interne, forse anche DVB continuerà a servirsi di questo mezzo.
La notizia ha ricevuto una certa prominenza in Norvegia, come testimonia l'articolo su Aftenposten. Ma lo stesso quotidiano locale inglese Myanmar Times lo scorso marzo raccontava delle intenzioni di DVB, annunciando la prossima apertura di una sede ufficiale birmana. Il percorso di democratizzazione non è ancora stato concluso e il leader dell'opposizione Aung Saan Suu Kyi si sta battendo per una riforma di una Costituzione che attualmente le impedirebbe di presentarsi come candidata alla presidenza nelle elezioni che potrebbero svolgersi nel 2015. Il segnale della liberazione dei giornalisti di DVB dal loro esilio praticamente polare è però molto forte. Al momento, in ogni caso, DVB si può ancora ascoltare in onde corte, in birmano, su 6225 kHz tra le 14:30 e le 15:30 (dal Tajikistan) e su 7510 kHz tra le 23:30 e le 00:30 UTC (dall'Armenia).
Questo è il discorso pronunciato la settimana scorsa a Oslo da Guri Hjeltnes, rappresentante del board della organizzazione Fritt Ord (Libertà di parola) che in questi 21 anni ha contribuito a finanziare le operazioni dell'emittente.