Since 2017, Fondation Hirondelle has been producing a human rights podcast in partnership with Frontier Myanmar, a Burmese online news magazine. Doh Athan, “Our Voice,” is a weekly 10-minute podcast with videos and articles for the Web and social networks, covering human rights. It is produced by Frontier’s own staff and through partnerships with local reporters and media from different states, regions and ethnicities in Myanmar. The programme is broadcast online via social media, as well as on Voice of America radio in Myanmar. Journalistic training and technical support is also provided to Frontier and partner media. At the end of 2021, Frontier had to relocate to Chiang Mai, Thailand, due to the aftermath of the February 1 coup and to protect its staff.
284 876 CHF
Sources of Funding
• Switzerland (SDC Programme contribution)
PROVIDING INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM, DESPITE THE CLAMPDOWN ON PRESS FREEDOM
The effects of the coup and Covid-19 were the main challenges for the project during 2021.
The political situation remained very tense following the February 1 coup. The coup increased violence in the country and led to a significant decline in press freedom and freedom of expression. Many journalists have been arrested and imprisoned, and others are hiding in the country. Dozens of media outlets have been forced to close. Other media have fled to Thailand and are now working across the border.
This is the case of Frontier Myanmar, an independent media partner of Fondation Hirondelle. The military arrested two of its reporters at different times in the year, causing Frontier to temporarily shut down. Fondation Hirondelle, in agreement with its two financial partners for this project, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and UNDP, helped Frontier to set up in Chiang Mai (Thailand), and to support its material and editorial transition.
Despite these events and some downturns in operations, Frontier continued to produce and distribute the Doh Athan podcast, articles and videos, with particular attention to the safety of journalists.
As a result, Doh Athan provided quality coverage of ongoing issues that went beyond simple news reporting to include coverage from the regions of broader issues, including impacts on access to justice, IDPs, women, LGBTQI people, labour rights, and access to health and education.
In addition, a practical guide for journalists on covering land rights was developed and distributed to journalists and media partners. It will be followed by a series of distance learning courses in 2022.