The US-based cable TV giant CNN has signed a deal with Myanmar’s crony-owned telco SkyNet to launch the nation’s first 24-hour news network in Burmese.
SkyNet’s chairman Kyaw Win is reportedly cozy with the former military-backed regime, and the channel was recently accused of attempting to bribe Aung San Suu Kyi’s new government.
But those involved in the new partnership, agreed Friday, said Channel One would be a beacon of independent journalism in Myanmar.
Ko Ko, CEO of Shwe Than Lwin Media, which owns SkyNet, told the Irrawaddy the network – which doesn’t have a launch date yet – would be “powered” by CNN.
“It will only be launched when CNN thinks it’s ready,” he said. “We have to start everything from scratch. We don’t know when all the training will finish.”
Greg Beitchman, vice president of CNN International’s commercial content sales and partnerships division said the network was “confident” SkyNet could meet an international standard.
“Developing a channel will help the country tremendously,” he said. “We think that sharing our standards of journalism and values here in Myanmar will contribute to a model of a political debate which will benefit the country’s politics and also the country’s economics.”
SkyNet was implicated in a bribery scandal last month after the President’s Office reported that “a media company that took part in the annual New Year in Naypyidaw by staging a pavilion” gave $4,250 to an assistant to an unnamed official.
The firm was not named but SkyNet was reported to be the only such company with a pavilion in Naypyitaw this year.