RANGOON — Burma’s state-run English-language daily newspaper will from September be renamed and relaunched as a joint venture with a private company, the newspaper reported Sunday.
Little-known Burmese firm Global Direct Link won a 2013 tender to take a 49 percent stake in the New Light of Myanmar—alongside the majority owner, the Ministry of Information’s News and Periodicals Enterprise—and transform it from government mouthpiece to a semi-independent media outlet.
Staff from Japan’s Kyodo news agency have been brought in to train employees at the paper, which will be renamed the Global New Light of Myanmar from Sept. 1, the report said.
The newspaper reported that an opening ceremony on Saturday for a new printing press in Rangoon was overseen by Information Minister Aung Kyi and Rangoon Division’s chief minister, Myint Swe.
“Converting the state-run newspaper into a daily run by a joint-venture is the first such experience for the government and can be considered as a profound change in essence during the period of transition to democracy,” Aung Kyi was quoted saying.
“The move is aimed at transforming the state-run English-language paper into a free and public-centered media as part of efforts to reform the media landscape.”
The new printing press is worth US$3.45 million and can print 70,000 copies per hour of a 48-page tabloid or a 24-page broadsheet, the report said. Previous announcements said the new-look New Light of Myanmar would be enlarged from tabloid to broadsheet.