Myanmar allows visas for foreign journalists

Featured South East Asia - February 14th, 2013

Myanmar will roll out visas for foreign journalists in its latest push towards liberalization of its heavily censored media.

The three-month visas will allow foreign journalists “unhindered” coverage and allow them to “travel to any part of the country” without prior permission, including its conflict zones.

“Our country is opening up. We have to reduce our previous rules and regulations,” Myint Kyaw, a director at the Ministry of Information, told The Wall Street Jorunal. “By giving a three-month visa, it will allow journalists all over the world enough time to do proper reporting on Myanmar.”

Visas would only be granted on a single-entry basis, according to Ye Htut, a spokesperson for President Thein Sein. Journalists working on documentaries or other long-term projects requiring multiple entries to Myanmar might have to pay additional fees.

Still, the new provisions mark a significant move to cement Myanmar’s transition towards democratization.

For decades, media outlets in Myanmar were subject to grueling scrutiny and censorship while most foreign journalists enter the country pretending to be tourists.