The Voice of America (VOA) launches its first satellite TV program for Burma this weekend, bringing fresh news and information to people living in one of the world’s most restrictive media environments. “This programme will expose people in Burma to information and images they may never have seen before,” said VOA Director Danforth Austin.
Called Burmese Weekly TV Magazine, the programme’s first edition includes international, national news and features, including a special report on the Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group from Western Burma. Burma’s Junta has persecuted the Rohingyas, forcing many to try to flee to neighboring Bangladesh and then to Thailand.
In the first show, VOA anchors Thar Nyunt Oo and Nyo Nyo Lwin also discuss UNICEF’s campaign to vaccinate children against polio and Thailand’s economic problems as a result of a drop in the price of rice.
The TV programme, airing Sunday mornings in Burma and repeated during the week, expands VOA’s Burmese Service radio programming, which now broadcasts 3.5 hours daily on shortwave. Research indicates about 12 percent of the urban households in Burma have satellite dishes, allowing them to see the new satellite TV programme without interference. The programme will be broadcast through the Asiasat 3 satellite at 105 degrees East.