1 Apr 2013

Myanmar gets choice of daily newspapers, after 50 years

10:48 pm on 1 April 2013

For the first time in 50 years, the people of Myanmar have a choice of daily newspapers.

The state monopoly has come to an end in reforms introduced by the elected government.

The liberalisation of the media coincides with the first anniversary of the election to parliament of the opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Sixteen papers have so far been granted licences, although only four were ready to publish on Monday.

Until recently, reporters in Myanmar faced some of the harshest restrictions in the world, the BBC reports.

Private dailies in Burmese, English and other languages, which had been commonplace in the former British colony, were forced to close under military rule in 1964.

Subsequently, journalists were frequently subjected to surveillance and phone-tapping and were often tortured or imprisoned. Newspapers that broke the rules were shut down.

But media controls have been relaxed as part of a programme of reforms launched by the government of President Thein Sein that took office in 2011.