Fondation Hirondelle started its activities in Myanmar in 2016, to support a professional media sector that gives voice to the population, in a delicate and historic context of democratic transition. In 2017, Fondation Hirondelle began a program on human rights to amplify underrepresented voices in the media, in particular those from areas affected by inter-communal or ethnic conflict.
The project aims to address important gaps in content and access to information on human rights and related issues through hands-on training for journalists and ethnic media and the production of a weekly human rights audio podcast. This podcast, Doh Athan ("Our voice") broadcasted since October 2017, explores human rights issues through in-depth reporting and interviews with the population, leading human rights practitioners, scholars, activists, and government authorities with a diversity of voices and sources from around the country. It brings unheard and moderate voices and stories into the national dialogue, especially stories and perspectives from women and marginalized members of the community, to counter negative stereotypes. Doh Athan has also expanded into video production, producing video stories about human rights around the country which are shared widely online.
To support the production and broadcasting of this program, we have developed a network of ethnic and local partner media around the country. These partner media participate in journalistic trainings, receive production equipment, and participate in the weekly production and broadcasting of Doh Athan. This ensures stories and voices from around the country are heard from in this national podcast. Partner media further support getting the program out to listeners by broadcasting on their social media pages.
From 2016 to 2018, Fondation Hirondelle also worked with the Hluttaw, or the Myanmar Union Parliament to improve media coverage of legislative processes. Over this time, we carried out several cycles of participative workshops and coaching with parliamentary press staff, journalists covering parliament from private and public media, and members of parliament. Fondation Hirondelle has also worked with non-state actors involved in the country’s peace process including representatives of 11 ethnic groups. From 2016-2017, workshops were organized, reuniting 36 participants from these organizations. These dealt with questions linked to public access to information on the peace process and the way to diversify the views in the coverage by national media.
- Contribute to improved access to information about local, regional and national human rights issues in Myanmar.