World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


Dr. Than Htut Aung‘s Golden Pen of Freedom 2013 Acceptance Speech

Dr. Than Htut Aung‘s Golden Pen of Freedom 2013 Acceptance Speech

Article ID:

16574

"This Golden Pen of Freedom Award means to me that I am not walking alone. We, the people of Myanmar, are not walking alone. This Award means you are with us."

Excellencies, Editors, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Thank you everybody for giving me the opportunity to be here. It’s an honor.

When I was informed about this award, I was really surprised. I never expected to be recognized for my profession and my work.

To be honest, I have previously only heard of this award, I didn’t know what it meant or who the recipients were.  After investigation, I realized that this is a very prestigious award.

I understand that many journalists and writers who received this award had made numerous sacrifices and had to face up to a lot of challenges.

Although I have given a lot to journalism, freedom of the press and freedom of my people, I asked my self if I had made the same extent of sacrifices.  After much thought I decided that this award is not for me, but rather for my people.

Since I was born, I have always lived under dictatorship.  I have never experienced freedom before.  Now, after five decades of my life, FREEDOM is in front of me.

I would like to point out that my country’s freedom is a fairly recent phenomenon.  There are numerous problems that need to be fixed. For 60 million people are living in poverty.  Discrimination and injustice prevail everywhere…. There is a lack of rule of law, widespread corruption and hundreds of thousands of people live in refugee camps.  This is the reality of my world.

As a journalist I have my responsibility to tell the truth.  The award means my responsibility.

I would like to tell the international community that our transition to democracy and people’s freedom is not as smooth as you may think.  Those who cannot accept changes are doing everything to block reform efforts.  They want to impose indirect control of the media.  They are creating a network to intensify the propaganda and to attack political figures and journalists. They are responsible for inciting religious riots, armed conflicts… leading to the displacement of thousands of people… As you may already know.

I understand that after 50 years of dictatorship the road to democracy may not be a smooth one. We are still living under pressure and fear. We have to resist.  We have to fight.

This Golden Pen of Freedom Award means to me I am not walking along.  We, the people of Myanmar are not walking alone.  This Award means YOU are with US.

Thank you on behalf of my struggling people and my country.

Dr Than Htut Aung.

Author

Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop

Date

2013-06-03 07:23

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Author

Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop

Date

2013-06-03 07:21

Than Htut Aung, Chairman and CEO of Eleven Media Group in Myanmar, known for its audacious defiance of official censorship and dedication to democratic freedoms, has been awarded the 2013 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).

Author

Alison Meston's picture

Alison Meston

Date

2013-06-03 07:26

Dr Than Htut Aung, Chairman and CEO of Eleven Media Group in Myanmar, is the 2013 WAN-IFRA Golden Pen of Freedom laureate. Read his story here.

Author

Alison Meston's picture

Alison Meston

Date

2013-06-03 06:34

The Golden Pen of Freedom is WAN-IFRA's annual award recognising individuals or organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to the defence and promotion of press freedom. Read more ...

In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...