Director of BBC News, Francesca Unsworth has welcomed the rise in the demand in the country for the BBC’s offer in Burmese, and reiterated the BBC’s continued commitment to serving audiences in Myanmar.
The BBC reaches a weekly audience of 7.3m million people in Myanmar on radio, TV and digital platforms. The latest research in the country has shown a particular growth of the demand for the digital offer from BBC News Burmese, which continues to be seen as a trustworthy source.
This validated the BBC’s focus on the development of its social media content in Burmese. The BBC’s plans in Myanmar include digital content and projects that will help raise awareness among audiences, especially young people, of misinformation and fake news, and train them to differentiate between fact and fiction.
Francesca Unsworth says: “Having served its audiences in Myanmar on radio for decades as a service of need, the BBC continues to be a trusted source of news for millions in the country. Our news services – led in Myanmar by BBC News Burmese – and our international development charity, BBC Media Action, reach out to individuals and public organisations alike, to help audiences engage in democratic processes as informed citizens.
“The fact that the demand for this content is growing is really inspiring for the BBC, proving that we are on the right track. We are looking forward to using these same platforms to help our audiences tackle misinformation.”
Working in more than 20 countries, the BBC’s international development charity BBC Media Action fights poverty and inequality with media and communication. People who watch and listen to BBC Media Action programming know more, discuss more, change their outlook and take action to improve their lives. The charity has worked in Myanmar since 2013, when it first helped to build the skills and editorial standards of journalists at state broadcaster MRTV.
Now, via radio and TV programmes broadcast by Myanmar media, BBC Media Action addresses issues such as labour rights, health, bridging social divides, and governance. As they build understanding between religious, ethnic and regional groups, its programmes also help tackle or dispel rumours and stereotypes, including those perpetuated in fake news.
The radio drama Laphatyay Takhawyae Diaries (Tea Cup Diaries) explores the themes of ethnic and religious diversity with engaging storylines that represent different groups of society. Research demonstrates that its listeners are 1.9 times more likely than non-listeners to accept inter-ethnic and inter-religious relationships.
The radio programme Yay Kyi Yar (Toward Clearer Waters), focused on migration and financial management, is currently working on an 11-episode TV discussion programme on labour mobility and decent work, using BBC editorial standards of impartiality and trust. Another TV documentary and discussion series, Khan Sar Kyi (Feel It), builds support for peace and cohesion within Myanmar.
Reaching 5.3m people every week, BBC News Burmese continues to be a trusted source of impartial, original journalism for Burmese-speaking audiences. Its Facebook feed, which engages 2.2m people every week, has nearly 16m followers. The BBC News Burmese TV content, available on demand on the website bbc.com/burmese and YouTube channel, is also rebroadcast by Myanmar media.
Digital technology programme Click is aired by MRTV, while daily news bulletins run on Mizzima TV. The radio programmes, Global Newsbeat, Mobigeno and the English-learning series, The English We Speak, are aired by Myanmar’s FM network, Padamyar FM. Daily top headlines from the BBC News Burmese website are directly available to users of Yangon-based website, Frontier Myanmar.
BBC News Burmese is part of BBC World Service.