On 11 April 2017 PEN Myanmar gathered expert partners to reflect on the state of free expression in Myanmar at the one year anniversary of the National League for Democracy leadership. This is the first of what will be an annual free expression scorecard. In November 2016 PEN Myanmar and its partners released a pilot scorecard midway through the NLD government’s first year. Those initial findings are used as a comparative baseline for this one year assessment. Six groups participated in the first mid-term scorecard; 14 groups (listed below) participated in the one year assessment.
A free expression environment that fosters informed dialogue, protects open debate, and promotes government transparency and accountability is a crucial foundation for democratic reform. The expert participants produced a freedom of expression scorecard assessing the progress – or lack of it – by the new government in the key areas needed to strengthen protections for free speech, media freedom, information access, and freedom of assembly. They also developed a series of recommendations.
Like the six-month scorecard, the scores tallied by the experts – 8 out of a possible 60 – indicated a significant lack of progress in instituting key reforms to secure free expression in Myanmar. Acknowledging that the challenges for reversing decades of repression are significant, participants pointed to multiple areas in which no clear path forward has been explicated by the new government, let alone embarked upon.
Download full report in English HERE.