Fondation Hirondelle started its activities in Myanmar in 2016, to support a professional media sector that gives voice to the population, in a delicate and historic context of democratic transition. A partnership with the Parliament of Myanmar (Hluttaw) makes it possible for the population to develop an understanding of the legislative process, thanks to better access to information, which contributes to a greater transparency of Myanmar’s young democracy. Fondation Hirondelle also works with ethnic groups involved in the peace process to improve media coverage of this complex process. Lastly, with our media partner Frontier Myanmar, we aim to amplify underrepresented voices in the media, in particular those from areas affected by inter-communal or ethnic conflict.
A partnership with the Hluttaw (Burmese Parliament) first signed in 2014, and extended in 2017 has allowed us to carry out several cycles of participative workshops and coaching with parliamentary press staff, journalists covering parliament from private and public media, and members of parliament. Over 200 people have been trained on strengthening the capacity of media, the Parliament and MPs to provide important and trustworthy information on the legislative process, and to improve relations between Parliament and the media. Within the workshops, reports where produced on the subjects being debated in Parliament at the time, to contribute to an improved flow of information between Parliament, media, and the general public.
Fondation Hirondelle likewise has worked since 2016 with non-state actors implicated in the country’s peace process, including representatives of 11 ethnic groups. Thanks to a partnership with the « Peace Support Fund », three training sessions were organized in 2016 and 2017, reuniting 36 participants from these organizations. The workshops dealt with questions linked to public access to information on the peace process and the way to diversify the views in the coverage by national media.
Finally, since 2017, Fondation Hirondelle began a program on human rights with its partner Frontier Myanmar, funded by the Dutch Embassy. Frontier Myanmar is an independent Myanmar news magazine with a website in English and Burmese languages. This project aims to address important gaps in content and access to information on human rights and related issues through hands-on training for journalists and ethnic media and the production of a weekly human rights audio podcast. This podcast, Doh Athan ("Our voice") broadcasted since Octobre 2017, explores human rights issues through in-depth reporting and interviews with the population, leading human rights practitioners, scholars, activists, and government authorities with a diversity of voices and sources from around the country. It brings unheard and moderate voices and stories into the national dialogue, especially stories and perspectives from women and marginalized members of the community, to counter negative stereotypes.
- Increase the Myanmar population’s access to accurate information on the work of the parliament representing diverse points of view and facilitate the work of journalists at parliament
- Support political solutions and legitimate political dialogue, including the flow of information and greater transparency, as part of the peace process in Myanmar
- Contribute to greater media coverage that create a sense of balance among diverse ethnic groups and that provide more objective information in particular in areas affected by inter-communal or ethnic conflict.