Starting Historic Journal, The Than Lwin Times

Starting Historic Journal, The Than Lwin Times

Thursday, August 9, 2012
Nai Cham Toi an editor in chief of The Than Lwin Times (Photo:Kaowao)

Nai Cham Toi is an editor-in-chief of The Than Lwin Times. He started the journal four months ago and has successfully published four volumes after receiving legal permission from the Burmese government. The Than Lwin Times is the first journal of the Mon people in southern Burma. The journal is based in Moulmein, the capital of Mon State. Nai Chan Toi is a former executive member of the New Mon State Party and retired in 2010 after having spent 31 years working for the party.

Question: What are the challenges in working on this journal?

Answer: It's hard. We are dealing with the situation we have because we established the journal, The Than Lwin Times, without having enough journalists on staff. There are journalists here, but they do not have great skills or capacities.  Also, there are people here who want to do this job, but do not understand the journalism process, so we have to teach them from the beginning. Another difficulty is we do not have enough money to run our work effectively at our journal because we aren't wealthy individuals and have limited financing. We are working under limited financial conditions.
Our main customers are Mon and we market to them, but many of our Mon people don't want to buy the journal because it is written in Burmese and not the Mon language.

Q: Can you tell me about the structure of your team's work?

A: There are five editors on our team: me, Aung Htoo, Min Min, Yar Zar, and Min Latt. We can not hire journalists because we do not have enough money. Instead, there are contributors who work for us.

Q: What is a strong point of your journal and what needs improvement?

A: Our journalists do not know what audience to attract or whose attention to grab when they write news for our Mon people. We definitely need to improve this. However, journals from Rangoon that distribute here [Mon State] cannot market more than us, which is why people encourage us to keep doing our work.

Q: How many papers do you publish monthly?

A: We publish 3,000 papers every month. We price one journal at 400 kyat. We haven't received word that our journals have sold out. We haven't been able to sell all 3,000 monthly journals and are losing our investment. We lose about 300,000 kyat each month.
This is very normal—a new journal having no profit. We are not well known because we started just four months ago and we do not yet have journalists with good experience.

Q: What should I do if I want to join your journal's team?

A: One share is 100,000 kyat. Anyone can join and purchase as many shares as he or she wants. None of our current team one is able to buy over five shares because we do not have enough money. We do already have over 60 percent. We welcome anyone who wants to invest.

Q: What is the cost for publishing each month?

A: We design and layout the journal here [Moulmein]. We copy it onto CD and then print it out in Rangoon. All costs, such as traveling, printing and a stipend for our staff, total about 1.5 million kyat for one month of work.

Q: Do you intend for The Than Lwin Times to be a national journal, perhaps for business, or is it just to be regional or state-centered?

A: We intend for other ethnic people from Rangoon and other regions to know about the situation in southern Burma. This is why we publish our journal. We cover issues in Karen State, Tenasserim Division, and Mon State. We do regional coverage for marketing. It is not our intention to cover only our nationality.

What is your future plan over the next five years with The Than Lwin Times and your journalism business?

I want to have successful business with this job, but I cannot predict our future for this next five year without having persons who have good working experience as employees and persons who have enough personal wealth as financiers.
That said, we are proud that we can have officially set up our Mon journal in Mon State. This is in itself a historical accomplishment. There is duty for our Mon people to carry out this journalism task that we have begun to implement.



More articles from issue 05/2 More articles from issue 02/3
More articles from issue 05/2
- Ethnic Political Party Alliance Calls for Federal Cooperation in Peace Process

- New Formed Mon Researcher To Protect Old Kingdom

- Seven Arrested in Lamine sub-Township Drug Bust

- US Delegation Meets Ethnic MPs in Naypyidaw

- Two Mon Parties Reaffirm Agreement to Unite

- A house divided will fail to win power for the Mon

- Questions Arise as Reports of Additional Military Training Surface

- Burma Tour Agency Offers Spiritual Travel Experience

- Reformist Burmese Government Continues to Use ‘Divide and Rule’ Colonial System

- Forty-Three Rohingya Boatpeople Walk Out Freely from Prison in Moulmein

- Federalism Agenda in Burma

- ‘Maintain and Be Proud of Your Ethnic Identity’ Say Suu Kyi amid Whirlwind Trip to United States

- Concerns Grows Over Threat of Increased Drug Use in Mon State

- Government Land-Seizure Investigation Committee Moves to Karen State

- Ethnic Mon in America Welcome Suu Kyi’s Visit With Words of Advice

- First Permitted Commemoration of International Peace Day Marks in Moulmein

- Ethnic Groups Issue Their Own Peace Plan

- Ethnic Mon Monk and Right Activists Make Donation to Insein Prison

- Ethnic Mon Monks Face Accusations of Partiality in Face of Difficult Political Talks

- Political Reform Comes at Cost of Ethnic Representation in Naypyidaw

- NMSP Outlines Party Objectives at 65th Mon Revolution Day

- NMSP maintains “wait and see” Policy

- Ethnic Mon MPs Meet Mon Migrants in Mahachai

- Pa-oh group agrees to a ceasefire with the Burmese government.

- Eight Thai Citizens Facing Prison in Burma

- Ethnic Languages to be Taught in Burmese Schools

- Ethnic Political Party Alliance Requests Reforms to Government Census Lists

- Initial Agreement Reached Between 88 Generation and Two Mon Political Parties

- Ethnic Conference Through to Find out Peace Hopefully (Interview)

- Starting Historic Journal, The Than Lwin Times (Interview)

- KNU says Burmese Government does not Want Real Political Dialogue

- Remembering Mon leader Nai Non Lar

- Mon Curriculum Brought to President Thein Sein

- Ethnic Mon Buddhist Doctor To Teach in Germany

- Mon Leadership at a Crossroads (Opinion)

- Ethnic Mon in Sangkhlaburi Join Buddhist Chanting to Celebrate the Buddhist Lent

- Educational Funding Possibilities Arise as Multi-Ethnic Curriculum Argument Increases

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