July 28, 2006

The role of media

I think a role of media organization depends primarily on its own founding mission. I don't believe that every Burmese media group outside of Burma should become mouthpieces of opposition movement. An unbiased, free and balanced media is what we need. Even if the aim of a media organization coincides with the end of the Burmese opposition movement, still the media has the responsibility to report the truth, i.e., if necessary, it can and should be critical to the opposition movement as well. Once it fails to be a free and balanced one, a media organization merely becomes a propaganda tool for the opposition, which can be at times as corrupt as the military regime.

Saw Kapi

July 21, 2006

What is National Interest?

"It is truism to say that the power of the state used to advance and maintain the national interest, both in the international sphere and in the domestic. However, the pursuit of the national interest depends on the perception and interpretation of the national interest. In most cases, this is done form a limited viewpoint, from the viewpoint of those in power. Access to power, thus, determines the use of power, the end to which power is directed. Since access to power is essentially elitists, the use of power is also elitist in character." From "Religion, Politics and State" by Tun Aung Chain Read more...

July 19, 2006

The Value of Scholarship

The Power of Knowledge

The value of a scholarly inquiry derives essentially from its responses to some basic human needs, which are often subjective, while the instruments used to pursue the scholarly inquiry must be objective, that is, accuracy must prevail in what it gathers and reports. The state of Burma's politics and economy today not only calls on the scholars and intellectuals alike to focus on critical human needs on the ground but requires them to challenge the status quo that produces nothing but human sufferings and miseries on a daily basis.

If the recent gathering of university professors, scholars and experts at the largely publicized International Burma Studies Conference (“Burma Conference in Singapore a Success,” The Irrawaddy Online, July 18, 2000) resulted in the establishment of a scholarship that encourages the use of knowledge corresponding to the social and political revolution in the Burmese society, we must not fail to acknowledge that the knowledge they possess in their hands is a form of power to be reckoned with. Otherwise, it would just be another opportunity for some to publish what Howard Zinn called "inconsequential" studies. In the meantime, the susceptible public in the country continue to endure their daily miseries and hope at least that, at this time, they do not perish while articles and papers about them are being published.

Saw Kapi