Myanmar Journalism Institute and MEMORY! International Film Festival collaborated to explore the sometimes ambivalent relationship between politicians and the media in Myanmar. At the core of the project was a two-week workshop during which students conducted interviews, gathered data, and analysed audience (and their own) responses to ‘Freedom of the Press and Democracy’ – the theme of the 6th MEMORY International Film Festival (Yangon, 9-18 November 2018). ‘With this initiative’, said Séverine and Grace ‘we hoped to contribute to a culture of independent journalism and to mobilise critical engagement with politicians and cultural policies.’
Reporter Jérome Boruszewski turned some of the written stories that students made for Bioscope News as well as for the MEMORY! Facebook page into radio stories. His documentary also included interviews with students, trainers, and Myanmar radio journalists. The goal was to tell the story of the student experience of participating in the MEMORY! Journalism & Culture programme. His idea was to to see how it went, how students enjoyed it, and what they produced – and to tell all of this in a long-form radio documentary. Boruszewski’s lasting impression was that MJC is a journalism lab and a space of freedom – something quite rare in Myanmar.
To read more about how Myanmar’s future journalists are confronting the limits and the possibilities of freedom of expression, see Marie Puyessegur’s article and Kimberley Pallenschat’s article for Tea Circle (a forum for new perspectives on Myanmar).