Published on Thursday, 07 February 2013 17:15
Foreign investment is not allowed in local-language publishing and multimedia businesses as they are listed as restricted businesses under the foreign investment law, information ministry deputy minister Ye Htut said.
A notification from the Myanmar Investment Commission last week listed businesses in which foreign investment was restricted.
This list included “joint ventures in publishing and broadcasting” and “publishing journals and periodicals in Myanmar or ethnic languages”.
“According to the list of restricted businesses under the Foreign Investment Law, foreign investment will not be allowed in publishing newspaper and journals in Myanmar or ethnic languages. This is to protect the local publishers. But exchanging news or arranging training programs is allowed,” Ye Htut told Eleven Media.
He said that restrictions on foreign investment in media were intended to achieve two criteria of UNESCO’s “media development indicators”. These two indicators are: “plurality and diversity of media, obtaining a level economic playing field and transparency of ownership” and “sufficient infrastructure capacity to support independent and pluralistic media”.
To meet UNESCO’s indicators “we will not allow cross ownership for foreign investors”, he said.
Ye Htut explained that this would make the local media viable when the market opens.
Industry observers say that under these rules the company that publishes The Myanmar Times journal will not be able to continue to publish its Myanmar-language newspaper since it is 49 percent foreign owned.
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