The Messenger newspaper has ceased publication, joining a growing list of defunct dailies in the new democratic Myanmar, media reports said Tuesday.
The Messenger’s managing editor Ko Thura Aung denied allegations that the closure was linked to the victory of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party in the November 8 polls, the Myanmar Times reported.
Messenger Media is owned by U Zaw Min Aye, the son of U Tin Aye, chair of the Union Election Commission that came under fire for its handling of the election.
“Anyone who says that is an idiot and knows nothing about running a newspaper,” Ko Thura Aung told the Myanmar Times.
Myanmar’s liberalized its media sector in 2013 when the government ended its monopoly on daily publications, leading to a proliferation of at least 30 English-language and vernacular dailies, of which only a third have survived the past two years.
Although free to publish, privately-owned newspapers face stiff competition from the state-owned press in getting advertisements thanks to their much broader reach throughout the country.
A report by MMRD, a market research company, found that in 2013-14 only eight percent of total advertising revenue went to private daily newspapers and 60 per cent went to state-owned publications such as Myanma Alinn, Global New Light of Myanmar and the Daily Mirror.
These publication, however, face an uncertain future under the incoming NLD-led government which should take power in April.