Myanmar took an important and necessary step on its journey toward establishing an open and democratic society when the Information Ministry announced on its website on Friday that privately owned daily newspapers will be allowed, starting in April, for the first time since 1964. The ministry statement said that any Myanmar national wishing to publish a daily newspaper would be able to submit an application in February and that new dailies would be allowed to begin printing on April 1 in any language.
The move is part of an ongoing liberalisation of the media initiated by the government of President Thein Sein after he took office last year. In August, the government abolished direct censorship of the media and announced that journalists would no longer have to submit their work to state censors before publication.
Myanmar already has state-run dailies which serve as government mouthpieces and more than 180 weeklies, about half of which cover news while the rest focus on sports, entertainment, health and other areas.
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