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Mandalay, August 25, 2019:

At a time when the media is increasingly coming under attacks from political administrations, a Minister of Myanmar has raised the alarm bells by claiming that there is no such thing as a ‘fourth pillar’.

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Mandalay Chief Minister U Zaw Myint Maung made the controversial remark on Friday at an event seeking to improve cooperation between the media and the administrative, judicial and legislative branches of the Myanmat government.

The Chief Minister of Mandalay Region said on Friday that he only knew of three pillars of democracy—the legislature, the administrative branch and the judiciary—prompting criticism from the country’s media.

Raising eyebrows among the press fraternity, the Minister said that he wants the media to be the fourth pillar, but questioned if the media in Myanmar now are worthy of being the fourth pillar. He reasoned that there is no ‘fourth pillar’ as in the Myanmar Constitution, there are only three pillars—legislative, administrative and judicial.

He said the concept of the fourth pillar of democracy is derived from the ‘international’ community, and thus, it does not apply to Myanmar.

He said he respected journalists’ right to information, their right to publish that information, and their right to safety, but added that they need to work ethically.

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