‘Important time’: Frontier appoints new editor-in-chief

Ben Dunant will take over as Frontier Myanmar’s editor-in-chief next month from Thomas Kean, who steps down after six years.

Frontier Myanmar has a new editor-in-chief. Former managing editor Ben Dunant will take over the top editorial job on September 5 and lead the organisation as it expands its reporting on Myanmar’s political crisis. 

Dunant first joined Frontier in 2018 and steered the newsroom through the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 general election and the February 2021 military coup. In May 2021 he moved into a part-time role that included overseeing the Political Insider newsletter.

Dunant said he was “humbled to be working with a team of ace Myanmar journalists, who’ve shown tremendous courage over the last two years”. 

He said Frontier has an important role to play in keeping Myanmar on the international agenda.

“The world is increasingly looking away from Myanmar and many stories are going untold. Our job is to change that, through in-depth reports from all over the country.”

Chief executive officer and publisher Sonny Swe said Dunant’s appointment would help the Frontier newsroom go “from strength to strength” in the coming years.

“We’ve successfully relocated to Thailand and now is the right time to make this kind of important appointment,” Sonny Swe said. “Not only does Ben know a huge amount about Myanmar, but he also understands the strengths of each member of our team. I’m looking forward to working with Ben and seeing what Frontier can achieve under his leadership.’

Outgoing editor-in-chief Thomas Kean steps down after six years in the role, but will remain involved with Frontier as a director. 

“I’m thrilled that Ben will be taking charge of Frontier at this important time in its development. We’ve gone through many upheavals over the past year and now is the right time for a change at the top,” Kean said.

“He’s a fantastic journalist and writer with a deep knowledge of Myanmar, and a great rapport with the Frontier team. I’m excited to see how he takes Frontier forward.”

Since its founding in 2015, Frontier Myanmar has earned a reputation for quality, impartial journalism in a difficult working environment. Despite the existential challenges posed by the February 2021 military coup, it continues to deliver in-depth reports from all corners of Myanmar, making space for overlooked voices and issues and reporting the uncensored truth.

Frontier’s staff is overwhelmingly national and it is an important training ground for young Myanmar journalists. Its reporting has been recognised every year since 2017 by the Society of Publishers in Asia, the region’s most prestigious media awards.

In January 2020, Frontier launched a membership programme aimed at building a community of people who care about independent journalism in Myanmar. The programme supports the financial sustainability of Frontier and ensures it can remain an independent voice in Myanmar’s media landscape.

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