Private dailies return to Myanmar newsstands

Featured South East Asia - April 2nd, 2013

Privately owned daily newspapers hit newsstands in Myanmar for the first time in almost 50 years as the reformist government took another step towards democracy.

Four dailies – The Voice, The Golden Fresh Land, The Union and The Standard Time – went on sale Monday morning, emerging from the sixteen licenses initially granted by authorities, reports Reuters.

While the other dailies failed to reach the streets – bogged down by poor financing, outmoded printing equipment and staffing issues – the presence of private papers in newsstands marks a breakthrough in the former junta ruled nation.

“We’ve been waiting half a century for this day,” Golden Fresh Land’s editor Khin Maung Lay told Irrawaddy. He also acknowledged innumerable “hurdles along the way”, but said he will face them “in the spirit of freedom”.

The military junta regime effectively shut down Myanmar’s press in 1962, with newspapers either forced to close or put under state control by 1964, reports Global Post.

Myanmar announced in December that licenses for private daily newspapers would be issued and could begin publishing on April 1 as part of the sweeping reforms instituted by the government.