Parliament is reaching for power, by controlling state budget. Increased cooperation between pro- democratic organizations. Churches calls for democracy. Economic situation is deteriorating.
On March 16 DIPD and the Red-Green alliance held a public meeting with the Portuguese Professor of Sociology, Boaventura de Sousa Santos. The meeting was well attended by representatives from the Danish parties, NGOs and university students.
Form March 2 – 10 six young Palestinian women from the three Palestinian left parties cooperating with Enhedslisten/the Red-Green Alliance and VIF, the Left International Forum, Vänsterpartiet/Left Party, Sweden, visited their partners in Denmark and Sweden.
The DIPD Dialogue and Resource Centre in Yangon recently launched a new series of capacity development sessions on media and communications for political parties and alliances. These sessions will help parties prepare for Myanmar’s upcoming national elections. The election period will be crucial for consolidating Myanmar’s developing democracy, and parties’ ability to communicate effectively through the media will be an important determinant of the establishment of competitive and representative parties.
Report by MMDP Office, Yangoon
Improving communication skills in the parties
In numerous consultations, the parties have requested assistance in communicating through the media during their campaigns. The capacity development course took place as an intensive one-day media and communications training for six different groups including the existing party alliances – the Nationalities Brotherhood Federation (NBF), United Nationalities Alliance (UNA) and Federal Democracy Alliance (FDA) – and to the National Unity Party, Union Solidarity and Development Party and National League for Democracy. A total of 110 participants took part in the intensive one-day course.
The topics for the capacity development sessions included knowing different types of media, analysing newsworthiness, and message development for the campaign – an interactive session in which the participants were asked to develop individual one-minute campaign messages that were shared with peers and trainers and critiqued. The participants also learned how to create media advisories and press releases including using social media and other new technologies for communications. At the end of the day, the participants put together a basic strategic communications plan to take home along with a media contact list template, media advisory template and examples, and a message to use.
Communication and the 2015 election
Parties discussed how they could employ the tools and techniques discussed during each session, and resolved to be more active on social media, build their profile in traditional media, and streamline their communications. One participant from Nationalities Brotherhood Federation remarked after the session, “This kind of media training is much needed for political parties and we request DIPD to provide similar trainings for our party members outside of Yangon.” Another participant added, “Election period will be crucial for both parties and the media, therefore this training will enhance our relationship with the media during this crucial time.”
The discussions during the training established that the concepts are generally new to the participants. Most of the participating parties do not have media strategies or campaign messages. After the training session, MMDP Political Party and Dialogue Adviser Jeremy Liebowitz and Programme Coordinator Khin Thazin Myint discussed the timeline for elections and the implications for parties’ communication strategies and message development.
An important component of the Myanmar programme
DIPD had the support of resource persons Mindy Walker, an expert on communications in campaigns, and May Thingyan Hein, a senior media expert from the Myitmakha News Agency, to give illustrations on how to communicate effectively with the media, hold activities that will attract the attention of the media, and deliver a message that resonates with constituents.
Media and political parties is a longer-term component of the Myanmar programme. With the generous support of the European Union through the project entitled “Strengthening Governance in Myanmar/Burma – Electoral Processes Support”, DIPD will continue to support similar capacity building and technical assistance sessions for political parties to organise their internal and external communication. As part of this initiative, DIPD will hold a dialogue between parties and media on election reporting guidelines next month.
Please contact Hanne Lund Madsen, Senior Advisor at DIPD firstname.lastname@example.org or (+45) 38 40 28 02
Khin Thazin Myint, Myanmar Local Programme Coordinator email@example.com or (+95) 9 42 10 09 560
Party support and the relationship between democratic experiences and concepts
In a world where the global north is losing terrain and global south is in rapid growth on the international political and economic arena, Boaventura de Sousa Santos asks the question “what can we (in north) learn from the innovative forces in south?”. This is the stepping stone for the project “ALICE” that focuses on the development of theoretical and political paradigms for social transformation, inspired by new approaches winning its way in the global south.
On Monday the 16th of March at 10.00-12.00, the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy are facilitating a public meeting on democratic development and international party assistance, with a particular focus on the experiences from Latin-American.
First Sousa Santos will give an introductory speech afterwards he will be joined by Julia Suárez-Krabbe and Anne Marie Ejdesgaard Jeppesen in a debate on the subject
Location: Jemtelandsgade 1, 2.sal Copenhagen S
Questions and signing up: firstname.lastname@example.org
Boaventura de Sousa Santos, is professor in Sociology at the University of Coimbra
Julia Suárez-Krabbe, assistant professor in Intercultural Studies at Roskilde Universitet
Anne Marie Ejdesgaard Jeppesen, assistant professor in Latin American history and culture at the University of Copenhagen