2022 UMass Lowell Greeley Scholar for Peace Studies and Day Without Violence Keynote Speaker: Soe Myint
Soe Myint is a journalist and activist, as well as the founder and chief editor of Mizzima News, named the 2007 “Free Media Pioneer” by the International Press Institute. He was born and raised in Myanmar (formerly Burma), a country with a long history of military rule and civil war.
In recent years, Myanmar had made progress toward democratization, but on Feb. 1, 2021, the country’s military seized power in a coup. Myint and his colleagues are currently working from different locations inside and outside the country as independent media in Myanmar, despite having been charged with incitement by the junta for continued reporting, publishing and broadcasting of Mizzima.
In 2006, the military government in Myanmar had cracked down on anyone who gave information to foreign news outlets and began to identify and arrest foreign media “informants.” Against this backdrop, Mizzima News has provided accurate and timely news and information for both Myanmarese and English readers and viewers, including via a daily email service; mizzima.com and mizzima.tv; a monthly journal, often the only source of print news for exiled Myanmarese, particularly those living on the western border with Thailand; videos and podcasts; and alerts on press freedom violations.
Myint returned to Myanmar after 24 years in exile, after the military-backed government implemented a series of political reforms, and in January 2012, Mizzima became the first exiled news organization to return to the country. Over the course of nearly a decade, Mizzima became one of the leading independent media companies in Myanmar.
In 2021, Myint once again returned to exiled life when the military regime seized power and forcibly shut down Mizzima’s free-to-air TV channel. However, Mizzima continues to broadcast and publish independent news and information through two satellite Mizzima TV channels, FM radio, Mizzima websites, Mizzima Facebook, Mizzima YouTube and Mizzima app – reaching more than 30 million readers and viewers worldwide.