Myanmar’s media has historically been overburdened with vague, inconsistent, and overlapping laws that make up an oppressive legal framework packed full of risk for media outlets and journalists alike. Since the military coup in February 2021, media actors have endured further challenges, operating under extreme pressure and at great risk.
In October 2022, Myanmar’s State Administrative Council introduced the 2022 Association Registration Law (ARL). The ARL is an additional hammer suppressing civic space, with numerous illegal provisions under international law, such as requiring registration and reporting from all non-profit organizations and criminalizing a wide range of legitimate activities. It is likely to further chill media activity, particularly for independent or non-profit operators, as well as civil society organizations more broadly.
Adding to this, in the same month, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) demoted Myanmar to the blacklist for failing to implement their recommendations. While FATF’s blacklisting calls for the protection of humanitarian aid flows, it is likely to negatively impact media and civil society organizations due to bank and donor de-risking, economic impacts, and increased harassment of civil society by the military junta.
This ICNL partner analysis assesses these two recent developments and the potential impacts on media and civil society actors. Taken together, these two measures are likely to constrain media and civil society in Myanmar, which are trying to survive in an already highly challenging operational environment.