The Straits Times
Published on Oct 18, 2012

In reforming Myanmar, a junta mouthpiece gets a makeover


NAYPYITAW (REUTERS) - The New Light of Myanmar has an image problem. That's putting it mildly. Created in 1993 as the mouthpiece of a military junta, the newspaper once described democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi as "obsessed by lust and superstition", while praising the achievements of generals who kept Myanmar in poverty and fear.

Its nickname was "The New Lies of Myanmar". Now, with the junta gone and a reformist government in power, the mouthpiece is getting a makeover.

"Feel free to ask me any question! We are very transparent now!" cries Mr Than Myint Tun, its affable, betel-nut-chewing editor-in-chief during a Reuters tour of the state-run newspaper, the first by the international media.

The New Light is the country's only English-language daily - but not for long.