Seng Mai, Myanmar: Local Journalism Against All Odds

Seng Mai is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Myitkyina Journal, the only independent paper in Kachin State. She is the only women editor-in-chief in Myanmar.

With few resources, she trains her staff in every aspect of reporting. The production and printing processes take 5–10 days to complete, so her biggest challenge she says is that they can’t publish breaking news on the cover.

Watch a video about Seng Mai and the challenges of publishing a newspaper in Myanmar:

About a ground-breaking story on drug addiction in Kachin that Seng Mai wrote, she says that mine and logging workers get addicted to drugs that the bosses feed them to give them strength.

Local authorities partner with Chinese companies to operate the illegal trading. The workers in their companies are Kachin people. They are citizens of Burma. As media, we can raise awareness that our people are being enslaved in our own land. We have to share these tragedies with the public.

Seng Mai participated in Internews’ year-long journalism program based in Chiang Mai, years ago. She said, “I’d like to say thank you to Internews because it taught me to be a good journalist. Internews is always there for me for whatever I need for training and support. Our two computers are from Internews. They helped us get started.”

Internews currently runs a range of training and production programs to support independent media in Myanmar.

(This story was originally posted on Medium.)