SCS Myanmar worked closely with Myanmar Press Council (MPC) and Myanmar media sector to take a significant first step in tackling the copycat media. The fifth SCS Myanmar Media Sustainability Roundtable, held on April 10, focused on how to deal with copycat media—whereby media houses republish and re-post news stories and information without permission.
Copycat media is a lucrative business, while legitimate media are struggling for their financial survival. Representatives from the Ministry of Information, MPC, Myanmar Media Lawyer’s Network, media development organizations, and individual media houses discussed possible strategies for combatting copycat media at the roundtable and articulated follow-up actions: engaging with the cyber law drafting committee for intellectual property and engaging with civil society groups which are doing work in fact-checking and monitoring of hate speech and fake news.
The roundtable participants also recommended that the MPC support efforts to act against copycat media, and some media representatives shared the lists of copycat media they had compiled. As a result, the MPC released a statement warning media organizations against the practice of large-scale copying of content without permission. The MPC also issued a warning that it would act against websites that violate the guidelines. On May 27, the MPC issued a notification identifying 30 websites and social media pages that have regularly posted fake/false news or plagiarized news stories. This list was expanded to identify 48 copycat media organizations in a second announcement in August 2019. These announcements have already started to have an impact, with high-profile businesses withdrawing their advertisements from producers that support copycat media.