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[Event] Myanmar: The Role of Journalists Fighting for Democracy and Freedom of Expression

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Date: Friday, 19 November 2021

Time: 2– 3.30 PM (GMT+7), 1.30 – 3.00 PM (GMT+6.30)


Live via: Zoom

Nine months have passed since the military seized control of Myanmar’s from the elected government in early February in Myanmar and declared themselves “the caretaker government” with Min Aung Hlaing as a prime minister to rule the country under the extended state of emergency, supposedly until elections are held in 2023.

The developments that happened in the past decade, since 2011, created high expectations inside and outside the country and led optimistic observers to assume that the country was on the verge of making a genuine democratic transition. This ‘democratic transition’ however failed to materialise, particularly for the ethnic minorities and the Rohingya who faced grave human rights violations including genocide. In February 2021, the military junta attempted a coup that further shattered expectations for reforms in the country and revealed to the rest of the country the immense capacity for violence of the junta.

As a result, the threat to journalists in Burma remains very real, and practising journalism in the country takes bravery. Several foreign reporters have also been detained or forced out of the country. Pro-democracy groups and journalists living in exile played a crucial role in continuing to report what is happening in the country, at great risk to themselves – journalistic work that has allowed the international community to understand the crisis in Myanmar and has further highlighted the role of journalism in fighting for democracy.

Through this collaborative engagement hosted by FORUM-ASIA and ADN, we hope to catalyze a discussion on finding ways to enable support for independent journalists and media amid this dangerous situation. This includes crafting effective international advocacy, gathering support for threatened journalists, connecting them with other pro-democracy actors and agencies, and other actions that defend the remaining space for free speech and independent media. As an outcome, we hope that international actors will be informed of open passageways through which these support systems can be provided and the various initiatives and recommendations they can do to support the remaining space for free speech in Myanmar.


  • Khin Ohmar (Progressive Voice)
  • Seng Mai (Editor-in-chief of Myitkyina News Journal)
  • Soe Myint (Founding Editor-in-Chief and Managing Director of Mizzima Media Group)

Moderator: Laura Naw (FORUM-ASIA)


This is a Special Session of Asia Democracy Assembly scheduled on November 23-24, 2021 organised by ADN and FORUM-ASIA