Burma (or the Republic of the Union of Myanmar) is opening up its doors to the rest of the world and allowing media to take part in chronicling this year’s by-elections. On April 1st, millions will vote, and YouTube has set up an elections channel to cover it.
On Sunday, April 1, millions of voters in Burma will cast a ballot in the parliamentary by-elections. This year, Burma is opening its doors to media and election observers alike to document the election proceedings in real-time. With support from Google Ideas, our friends at the J-School News Lab, a real-time reporting training program for Burmese journalists, will be curating a Burma Elections news channel on YouTube. Here, they will feature original reporting from J-School journalists on the ground, Burmese media outlets, and international broadcasters.
Google Ideas is Google’s “technology-oriented think/do tank” that deals with technology and its influence/purpose around the world. They back technological projects and research, and hope that these “technological developments our insights fuel will scale to help as many people as possible.”
For a long time, the inner-workings of the country were kept behind a wall, and information had a hard time reaching international ears. In 2011, as part of Burma’s democratic reforms, the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest. Her releases was also accompanied by a National Human rights Commission.
The UN’s report of human rights conditions in the country states that strides have been made, but they have a ways to go:
This is a key moment in Myanmar’s history and there are real opportunities for positive and meaningful developments to improve the human rights situation and deepen the transition to democracy. The new Government has taken a number of steps towards these ends. Yet, many serious human rights issues remain and they need to be addressed.
YouTube’s Burma Elections page is up and running, and is already populated with two dozen videos.