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VOA Burmese

The Burmese Service with Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Burmese Service with Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi.

The VOA Burmese Service has been a vital international broadcaster for Myanmar, also known as Burma, since 1942. The Burmese Service helped the people of Myanmar stay informed during times of government repression. The Service is known for providing its audience with accurate news and information, which supports the development of civil society.

Since 2012, print media and the Internet have been relatively free in Myanmar. The Myanmar government still controls broadcast media in the country by allowing only the State and military-run TV stations, FM stations, and satellite/cable distribution stations. The Myanmar people turn to VOA broadcasts every day to learn about what is happening within their country, and worldwide. As well as direct broadcasts, VOA programs reach audiences through radio and TV affiliates in Myanmar and Thailand. In Thailand, these direct broadcasts disseminate information to millions of Myanmar people that are migrant workers and refugees that live along the Thai-Myanmar border.

The Service has grown into one of the most popular international broadcasters in Myanmar, reaching its target audience on radio (shortwave and AM), Television, the Internet, and mobile. VOA Burmese is popular among the people of Myanmar, offering a mixture of two and a half hours of daily programming regarding regional, international, and U.S. news. The Service also provides the Myanmar people with news from around the world, while keeping them informed on political, social and economic developments in Myanmar.

The Service radio broadcasts weekly features, including; Women’s Corner, Burma in the News, Burma Focus, Burma Democracy Forum, News from Ethnic Frontiers, U.S. Political Roundtable, Health, Science & Technology, Sports, Youth, American Idioms, Bloggers and Letters from Burma. The Service television broadcast includes two programs; Burma News Update, and Burma TV Magazine. Burma News Update is a 30-minute morning news program broadcasted every day of the week, which features breaking local and international developments. Burma TV Magazine is The Service’s 30-minute Saturday and Sunday television program which offers weekday news coverage with in-depth interviews and entertainment news.

In 2012, VOA signed an agreement with Myanmar Radio and television (MRTV) for the placement of VOA Special English lesson programs to be aired for the first time on the state-run broadcast station. Then, VOA Director, David Ensor described the deal as a “small step, but one that is symbolically important.” Following the deal with the state-run MRTV, in 2013 VOA signed another first ever rebroadcast of VOA Burmese TV news on the local channel. VOA’s local affiliate network is expanding every year – and now numbers of local FM stations such as Shew FM, City FM, Cherry FM and military – run Myawaddy TV are rebroadcasting VOA Burmese TV and radio programs.

Than Lwin Htun, chief of the Burmese Service, joined VOA in 2004. Lwin fled Burma during the late 1980s in the wake of the military crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators. Lwin covered Myanmar as a journalist for more than 30 years. During a sabbatical in 2002, Lwin worked with the international NGO Internews to establish the first Burmese journalism school in Myanmar. Before coming to VOA, Lwin worked for BBC for more than a decade in broadcast journalism.

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