Following a request by the Myanmar Government, President Thein Sein, which was supported by the chair of the rule of law committee of the Parliament, Aung San Suu Kyi, the European Union decided to support the reform of the Myanmar Police Force (MPF) in the areas of crowd management and community policing. The EU trained 4,000 police officers in crowd management and about two hundred people in community policing in an effort to promote a new image of the police: police should be understood as a “police service” rather than a “police force.”
The project also sought to establish professional liaison mechanisms between the police, media and civil society, including training police in press work. This included training on how to hold regular press conferences, how to nominate spokespersons and how to write press releases.
As part of the overall EU funded project: Support to Reform of the Myanmar Police Force in the Areas of Community Policing and Crowd Management – Component 3b (to improve the Myanmar Police Force´s accountability to and its liaison with civil society and the media), Wayamo Foundation Director Bettina Ambach and International Media Trainer Mechthild Henneke counducted a joint training session with journalists and police officers in Myanmar in October 2014.
Topics covered included:
- Objective, Structure and Tasks of the Model Media Unit
- Job Descriptions Within the Unit
- Exercise: Press conference
- Writing a Press Release
- Group Discussion Between Police and Media: What are the experiences in communicating and cooperating? What are possible solutions to solve communication problems?
- Conflict-sensitive Language and Reporting: Sensitive language, diversity guidelines, check-list against prejudice
- Interview Training Exercise: Different types of interviewers and interviewees
- Journalistic Ethics: With rights come responsibilities.
Photo courtesy Yosomono/Flickr.