Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Mixed Signals: Democratization and the Myanmar Media

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Abstract:  This article investigates the media context of Myanmar’s recent political reforms and transition of power. Drawing on interviews with 57 Yangon-based media professionals, the article analyzes the media’s role as both an agent and subject of political change as Myanmar prepared for parliamentary elections in November 2015. It asks to what extent changes in the Myanmar media system adhere to existing theories of the media’s role in the democratization process. Specifically, the article analyzes the features and functions of Myanmar’s media during the country’s liberalization from 2010 to 2015. The article concludes by assessing what Myanmar’s experience adds to our theoretical understanding of the media’s transformation during liberalization.

Keywords:  Burma; democratization; freedom of the press; journalism; liberalization; media; Myanmar; reform; transition


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© Tina Burrett. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.