Civil society organisations proliferated with government encouragement after the transition to democracy got underway in 2011 but are struggling under a regime that is squeezing the life out of civic space.
Ethnic armed groups in Shan State have long used intimidation to recruit fighters, but the brutal tactics of the Shan State Progress Party are terrorizing villagers and prompting some to flee their homes.
A boycott of state schools under military rule has caused a spike in enrollments at ethnic community schools and created opportunities for ethnic armed groups to broaden and strengthen trust and understanding with the public.
Information Minister U Pe Myint is a doctor-turned-journalist who was a critic of the previous government’s media policy. An ethnic Rakhine born at Thandwe in 1949, the former vice chair of the Myanmar Press Council is a renowned author who won a national literature award winner in 1995. Pe Myint faces big challenges and some big questions in his new role, including a public debate over whether the role of the Information Ministry can be justified. Frontier spoke to Pe Myint in an interview that touched on his plans for reforming the media, the competitive advantage of state-run publications over their private sector counterparts and his top priority as minister.
As former president U Thein Sein tightens his grip on the Union Solidarity and Development Party amid reported plans to build a presence in civil society, some are wondering if he’s planning a comeback in 2020.
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.