The top three preferred sources of news and information in Myanmar are television, radio, and social media (Facebook).
Background Information on Media and News Consumption in Myanmar
- Access to media is an issue in Myanmar, particularly for those in remote areas. As such, they end up using media to which they have access and know. This inaccessibility has led to a culture of sharing of news and information in the country.
- In Myanmar, particularly in rural areas, people are mostly unaware of the available media, even when it is local and within their reach.
- Those in rural areas are generally more interested in news related to the weather, as bad weather could affect their crops, estates, and abilities to protect their families. On the other hand, urban dwellers are more inclined to follow news on politics, the economy, culture, and entertainment.
- Regardless of the medium, news consumers in Myanmar prefer "locally-based media and news on topics relating to their lives."
- Although trust varies, they generally trust state-owned media to deliver trustworthy and reliable news and information.
- They prioritize local news over the general national news, as they are less concerned about events happening outside their homeland, which do not affect them directly.
Preferred News Sources
- Based on a 2018 study using 168 participants selected from four regions in Myanmar (Kachin, Mandalay, Rakhine, and Yangon) living in urban and rural areas, the most preferred sources of news and information in Myanmar are television, radio, and social media (Facebook). Others include the internet, friends and family, printed newspapers, and online newspapers.
- According to the study, TV is "clearly" the most popular source of news in Myanmar.
- The government controls the television broadcasting sector. However, in 2017, five companies were awarded TV broadcasting licenses, pledging to the government's rules, regulations, and editorial policy.
- According to the study, in terms of preferred sources of news and information in Myanmar, "radio comes in a clear second place."
- Radio is prevalent in rural areas due to accessibility. The government controls radio broadcast, with the state-run Myanmar Radio operating alongside a few commercial stations.
Social Media (Facebook)
- In Myanmar, news sites make up the top eight most popular Facebook pages, indicating Facebook's dominance as a top news source.
- For most people in Myanmar, especially those who are new to the internet, Facebook represents the whole internet; to them, it is not just part of the internet or one of the social media choices. This popularity is a result of the accelerated expansion of mobile, with new phones being pre-loaded with Facebook.
- There is a culture of sharing news and information in Myanmar on Facebook. Even those without access to Facebook are aware of it and receive updates through friends and family.
Additional Information: Most Popular Mediums
- Over 50% of the people in Myanmar watch TV.
Newspapers (Low usage):
- Compared to other media, the use of newspapers in Myanmar is low. Less than a fifth of the participants in the study read newspapers daily.
During our search for top places where people in Myanmar get their news and information about what's happening in the country/world/locally, we searched for studies or news articles with references to studies of news consumption habits in Myanmar. We expected to find relevant information from independent studies rather than those conducted by Myanmar's government agencies; the government, which is still transitioning from a military dictatorship, largely controls the media and access to media and news is low in the country.
However, our search for studies only yielded one study, which we have used to provide findings. While the study ranked news sources in order of preference among people in Myanmar, it did not provide hard data to show the extent of choice for each news source. We, however, relied on the study's findings regardless of the unavailability of statistics, since it was the only available study relevant to this research. In our search for related news articles, we found one, which referred to the study we already saw. No other news articles from international or local sources provided relevant information.
Regarding information on the specific type of news the people generally look for on the top news sources, we provided some background information indicating what people look for in the news depending on their location (urban or rural) and access to news sources. It appears that the type of news people look out for is based on their location and access to media. For example, those in rural areas, where the radio is popular, are more interested in news about the weather.