It was a different occasion for me to attend the 11th anniversary of Burma’s Mizzima News Agency in New Delhi. The function was titled – ‘On the Road to Media Freedom in a Better Burma’.
Obviously, the Mizzima journalists are working against odds, struggling to overcome fear as they file stories of Burma to a global audience from their forced homes in exile in India, Bangladesh, Thailand and China. It’s stirring to know that this news agency was started in 1998 from a very humble beginning just with a laptop.
Imagine the efforts of three Burmese exiles in India who started the venture without even a telephone line. Today, it has matured into a source of information for people inside and outside Burma, with its head office in New Delhi ably supported by the underground units based in Burma. Nearly 1,500 miles away from the streets of Rangoon and an unlikely destination for most Burmese refugees and exiles, New Delhi may seem an odd location from which to initiate a campaign for freedom of the press and democracy against Burma’s military junta, but it was off the congested and boisterous streets of the Indian capital that Mizzima was born. Mizzima staff shared their mission statement with me – “We are committed to the struggle against censorship and we support and stand in solidarity with Burmese journalists who fight daily for this freedom.” Video
True, being a journalist, I understand what press freedom is. And I sincerely pray my fellow journalists in Burma celebrate this freedom too, sooner.