Myanmar freedom of the press? Progress, but not there yet

August 26, 2012

English: Burma (Myanmar) (dark green) / ASEAN ...

Burma (Myanmar) (dark green) / ASEAN (dark grey) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Economist carries the good news, with the sober warning that press freedom remains beyond the grasp of Myanmar journalists:

But as part of a wider reform programme introduced by President Thein Sein, the old media rules have gradually been relaxed. For several months many editors have no longer been required to submit articles for prepublication censorship on such subjects as the economy. The latest announcement removes the need to submit articles on more sensitive topics, such as politics or Myanmar’s ethnic conflicts.

The country’s journalists welcome the news, but they also give warning that this by no means ends restrictions on press freedom. These remain numerous and burdensome. In particular, two bits of repressive legislation remain: the Printers and Publishers Registration Act, dating from the start of military rule in 1962, and the 2004 Electronic Transactions Law. Under the first, publications can lose their licences if they supposedly harm the reputation of a government department, threaten peace and security, and much else. Under the second, a person can be imprisoned for up to 15 years for distributing via the internet information that the courts deem harmful to the state. Meanwhile, the censor board itself seems likely to remain in business, ready to punish reporters or editors who overstep the mark.

But, good news is good news, yes?  See the entire article at The Economist.


Great cartoons: The Economist

April 26, 2009

Best, wisest and most cynical cartoon of the week, on the cover of the current North American edition of The Economist:

Cover, The Economist, North American edition, April 25-May 1, 2009

Cover, The Economist, North American edition, April 25-May 1, 2009; illustration by Jon Berkeley

For a week at least, you can get the story behind the cover for free, here.

THE rays are diffuse, but the specks of light are unmistakable. Share prices are up sharply. Even after slipping early this week, two-thirds of the 42 stockmarkets that The Economist tracks have risen in the past six weeks by more than 20%. Different economic indicators from different parts of the world have brightened. China’s economy is picking up. The slump in global manufacturing seems to be easing. Property markets in America and Britain are showing signs of life, as mortgage rates fall and homes become more affordable. Confidence is growing. A widely tracked index of investor sentiment in Germany has turned positive for the first time in almost two years.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

But, welcome as it is, optimism contains two traps, one obvious, the other more subtle. The obvious trap is that confidence proves misplaced—that the glimmers of hope are misinterpreted as the beginnings of a strong recovery when all they really show is that the rate of decline is slowing. The subtler trap, particularly for politicians, is that confidence and better news create ruinous complacency. Optimism is one thing, but hubris that the world economy is returning to normal could hinder recovery and block policies to protect against a further plunge into the depths.

The cover almost says it all, doesn’t it?  Week in and week out, The Economist has great covers, a phase of newsstand-oriented journalism that I hope never goes away, regardless the medium.


Economist hosts debate on education

September 25, 2007

It’s a distinguished magazine. Analysis in the magazine is typically stellar. They promise to invite top people to debate. It might be interesting.

I got this e-mail, below from the Economist. I plan to check it out, and vote.

Publisher's newsletter

Introducing The Economist Debate Series. A Severe Contest.

Dear Reader,

I’m delighted to invite you to be part of an extraordinary first for Economist.com.

Our new Debate Series is an ongoing community forum where propositions about topical issues will be rigorously debated in the Oxford style by compelling Speakers. The first topic being debated is Education and The Economist is inviting our online audience to take part by voting on propositions, sharing views and opinions, and challenging the Speakers.

Five propositions have now been short-listed to address the most far-reaching and divisive aspects of the education debate covering: the place of foreign students in higher education; the position of corporate donors; and the role of technology in today’s classrooms. The highest ranking propositions will be debated, with the first launching on Oct 15th.

Cast your vote

Choose the most resonant propositions to be debated from the list below:

Education – The propositions:1. This house believes that the continuing introduction of new technologies and new media adds little to the quality of most education.2. This house proposes that governments and universities everywhere should be competing to attract and educate all suitably-qualified students regardless of nationality and residence.

3. This house believes that companies donate to education mainly to win public goodwill and there is nothing wrong with this.

4. This house believes that the “digital divide” is a secondary problem in the educational needs of developing countries.

5. This house believes that social networking technologies will bring large changes to educational methods, in and out of the classroom

Join the Debate

The debate schedule is as follows:

  • Sep 17th-Oct 12th – Vote for your favorite proposition and join the open forum to discuss topics
  • Oct 15th – Winning proposition is revealed and the Debate begins
  • Oct 18th – Rebuttals. Share your comments on issues so far and vote for your winning side
  • Oct 23th – Closing arguments by the Speakers. Post any additional comments you would like to share and vote for your winner
  • Oct 26th – The debate winner is announced.

To receive debate updates sign up now. We will then contact you to announce the winning proposition and details of the debate as it unfolds.

I look forward to you joining us and your fellow Economist readers for this lively debate. In the meantime, check the site to track which proposition is winning, and to view guest participants and the announcement of key Speakers at www.economist.com/debate.

Yours sincerely,

Signature
Ben Edwards
Publisher
Economist.com


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