World Association of News Publishers

"In five years, I want to be running my own newspaper"

"In five years, I want to be running my own newspaper"

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Maw Maw San, 31, is Managing Editor of Travel Plus, a Genius Media Publications title, based in Yangon, Myanmar. She talks to WAN-IFRA about how the MPP programme has helped her create a set of ambitious, yet highly achievable career goals set against the country's transition to democracy.


What inspired you to work in the media?


“I have a passion for writing, and I have a passion for the English language. I’m interested in reporting and reading the news.”


How has the media changed in Myanmar over the last couple of years?

“Previously, we had to send our articles before publishing to the Press Scrutiny Board, a government authority, to be checked. We had to send every article, and could publish only the articles that had been given the green-light.

“If there were problems with an article, they would take out the parts they weren’t happy with, or they would censor the whole story. If the problem was really serious, they would call the editor and reprimand them: ‘Why are you doing this story? What was your intention behind it?’”


What happened if a newspaper challenged this system?

“If the Board was not happy with an editor, they would ask the publisher to remove that editor. Even if publishers didn’t agree with it, they didn’t have a choice because otherwise they would lose their publishing license.”


How have things changed?

 “We publish articles and send copies to the Board afterwards. We’ve done this for three months now, so the change is very recent.

“Daily working conditions are pretty much the same, because at the Ministry, it’s still the same people who are holding the same positions. Things are getting a little bit easier for us, but bigger changes will maybe happen later, in a couple of years.”


What changes would you still like to see?

“Investigations should be made easier. It’s not yet possible to investigate the government properly. For example, recently the Ministry of Mining started a lawsuit against a newspaper because of an investigation into them.

“I’m also hoping for more transparency, in the government and also in the business sector. Many deals are made under the table, hidden from the public. I used to write about business, and those areas are almost untouchable. Often it’s a question of access to information, sometimes it’s practically impossible to get in touch with the right people. We have to send letter after letter, and never get a reply.”


What effect has the MPP initiative had on your professional life?

“A very powerful and useful effect, because we’d never had training in leadership or goal setting. Honestly, I’d never thought about questions such as where I’m going to be in a five years’ time, not in a realistic way. But now, thanks to MPP, I’m setting realistic goals on where I want to be in three years, four years, and so on. I also used to focus on my work, my profession, be very “me, me, me”! Thanks to the leadership training, I now think more about what I can do for my country, and what I can do for my company.”


Where do you want to see yourself in five years?

“I want to have my own newspaper media company, that’s my career goal.”


Interview by Teemu Henriksson


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2013-02-15 16:28

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