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Journalists Turn the Spotlight on Extractives in Resurgent Myanmar

  • Blog post

  • 2 February 2015

Myanmar came last in NRGI's 2013 Resource Governance Index, which measures the quality of governance in the extractive sectors of 58 of the world's top oil-, gas- and mineral-producing countries. Myanmar scored just four out of a possible 100 points.

Fortunately, the country's government has, since 2012, made reforms and taken steps to improve the governance of the sector. The country's new membership in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) provides a unique opportunity to increase transparency and citizen participation. Currently an EITI "candidate country," Myanmar is now working to become a fully fledged member. As a sign of confidence in the direction it's taking, Myanmar hosted the 28th EITI board meeting on 14-15 October 2014.

Founded in 2009, YJS is an independent, private institution based in Myanmar's capital. It runs regular training for the media in different regions of the country. The trainers leading the program with NRGI have been teaching journalism since 2003 and are experienced media practitioners and administrators. As director and chief trainer of YJS, U Ye Naing Moe oversees the training programs. As program manager, U Thiha Maung Maung plans the school's programs and coordinates with other organizations.

The training program includes two ten-day core courses. These cover journalistic skills and extractive knowledge that has strengthened the capacity of participants to report effectively and consistently on oil, gas, and mineral governance issues.

Alongside the first workshop in December, the 11 participating journalists – four women and seven men representing ten media companies – undertook field visits to sites of extractive activities. These were opportunities to observe and interact with communities affected by extraction and to hear other sides of the story from the companies and government agencies involved.

The journalists are also receiving continuous professional development support through mentorship and grants to research, investigate, and report stories that would otherwise be impossible or difficult to produce without independent financial support.

Whereas it's a first for journalists in the country, the training in Myanmar – supported by the Norwegian embassy – is part of the fifth cohort of NRGI's global flagship program for Strengthening Media Oversight of the Extractive Sectors that has been running since 2011.

George W. Lugalambi is NRGI's media capacity development officer.



Aung Kyaw Min

Aung is a reporter with Myanmar Times, which he joined in 2013 from The Voice. Aung grew up in Min Bu, a small city in central Myanmar. After earning a law degree from the University of Magway, he moved to the Yangon to become a journalist. He wants to explore the extractive industries and has a particular interest in environmental journalism. Aung gained from the training program an in-depth understanding of the extractive industries and also improved the quality of his reporting.


Aye Chan Khaing

Aye is a section editor for The Trade Times which covers the economy, business, and trade. Her passion for reading and writing led her to join Today Media Group as a young reporter in 2006 before finishing her university degree in industrial chemistry. She has worked with several media houses over the last decade including Yangon Times, Cherry FM, and The Myanmar Times. She has experience covering oil and gas for Trade Times and joinsed the training program to deepen knowledge of her beat. Besides reporting, she writes poems for monthly magazines in Myanmar.


Ei Phyu Mon

Ei is a senior reporter at 7Day Daily. She became a journalist in 2006 when she joined The Myanmar Nation. She regularly covers the extractive industry, environment, and energy. Ei has loved reading and writing since her childhood and pursuing a journalism career was a way to fulfill her hobbies. She was born in the tiny border town of Tamu, next to India, and graduated with an accounting degree from Yangon Institute of Economics.


Kaung Hset Naing

Kaung covers oil, gas, business, financial, and investment issues for The Voice. He believes that reporting about the extractive industries is the most important contribution he can make to the nation's development. After the training, he has immersed himself further in learning about natural resource management and the craft of investigative reporting, especially focusing on the mining industry. Kaung has a degree in geography which he received from Dagon University in 2012.


Khin Lapyae Wun

Since she was in high school, Khin's desire was always to become a journalist. She is a reporter with Mizzima and covers energy, the environment, and extractive industries. She studied journalism at university and started her career as a reporter with The Nation soon after completing her degree. Khin enjoys her journalism role as a watchdog, reporting on the government's extractive activities and monitoring revenue flows.


Ko Thet

Ko is a reporter for The Voice and is based in Monywa in central Myanmar, where a Chinese company runs a large copper mine. As the area correspondent, he has written numerous stories about the conflicts between the local people and the mine operator. Ko has reported on the extractive industries and the environment since 2012. He started as a freelance reporter in 2006 before joining The Voice in 2011. He studied physics and graduated with a bachelor's degree from the University of Monywa.


Moe Nyo

Moe is a reporter from 7Day Daily newspaper. He joined the paper in 2012 and covers the extractive industries, business, and the economy. Not satisfied with his skills and knowledge in reporting those issues, he sought the opportunity to improve by attending this training program. Moe believes that extractives are still a new subject to many journalists in Myanmar. His future goal is to do more in-depth reporting on the extractive industries especially in the far-flung, remote areas of the country. He believes the media should pay more attention to the local people in resource-rich areas who are struggling to sustain their livelihoods despite the vast natural resources in their homelands.


Myatsu Nyein

Myatsu is a senior reporter with Popular News Journal in Yangon, which she joined in 2012. She originally covered health but broadened her focus when Myanmar signed on to EITI. With her interest in writing in-depth feature stories, Myatsu's ambition is to become an editor for an investigative magazine that will dig deeper into the important issues that affect the lives of people in Myanmar. She completed her degree in physics from the University of Yangon (East).


Phyo Phyo Wai

Phyo is a senior reporter for Myanmar Post. She became a journalist in 2011 and has covered the environment, extractive industries, politics, and crime. With her degree in mathematics from the University of Pakokku, Phyo brought to the training program her specialized knowledge of data. Her participation enhanced the program's efforts to improve the Myanmar media's capabilities in analyzing extractive data to improve the public understanding of policy issues.


Thet Oo Mon

Thet is a reporter with The Chronicle, a monthly in-depth news magazine. The magazine covers social, environmental, and political issues. Thet handles the extractive industries beat for the magazine. Instead of short and breaking news stories, he enjoys writing in-depth features and often writes travelogues. He has a degree in geography from Western Yangon University.


Tint Lwin

Tint is a senior reporter with Tanintharyi Times, a weekly newspaper based in Dawei, the capital of the Tanintharyi region. The region is one of the most richly endowed with natural resource in Myanmar, and it's where the government and foreign companies are building a new deep-sea port. Tanintharyi Times covers mega-projects and their impacts on the region. Tint has reported on those issues since the newspaper was founded.