World Association of News Publishers

WAN-IFRA Media Freedom Brain Trust Support South East Asian Media

WAN-IFRA Media Freedom Brain Trust Support South East Asian Media

Article ID:


Senior editors and commercial executives from Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam are working with with members of WAN-IFRA’s Media Freedom Brain Trust, who provided a workshop series on investigative journalism, media ethics, digital revenue generation, and digital story telling in Yangon, Myanmar in January.

Michael Cooke, Editor in Chief of the Toronto Star, Kirk MacDonald, Chief Revenue Officer for the Toronto Star, and Greg Barber, Director of Digital News Projects for the Washington Post, delivered the week-long workshop, part of the Media Professionals Programme, a wide-ranging media development project conducted by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).

“I am humbled by the professionalism, drive and commitment of the women and men who I met this past week in Yangon," said Mr. Cooke. These journalists, most of them raised under harsh political conditions including dictatorships, have risen above the threats and intimidation and work daily in bringing truth to their communities ....  spending time with them was a live reminder for me that no matter what our geography and backgrounds, journalists share an insatiable curiosity and determination to shine light where there is darkness.  I stand in admiration.”

The initiative, made possible through support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, aims to strengthen independent media in South East Asia.  The workshop in Yangon marked the beginning of the fourth year of the project.

“The training course helped lift me up to another level of newsroom management", said Kay Kimsong, Editor-in-Chief, The Phnom Penh Post (Khmer). “It was a great pleasure to learn some unique lessons from the most experienced mentors from the Washington Post and Toronto Star. I believe I can now help my company improve communication between the editorial side and commercial. We have to break down the wall between the two, in order to follow the trend of digital.”

In addition to the Yangon workshop series, participating media will play host in February and March to five senior media executives from Norway, who will conduct one-on-one consulting. Participating media companies will also send delegates to the WAN-IFRA Publish Asia conference in Manila in March 2016.


The WAN-IFRA Media Freedom Brain Trust helps media in emerging, transitional, or post-conflict countries succeed as agents of change in their societies.  It does so by contributing to WAN-IFRA’s global media freedom initiatives as trainers, advisors and champions. It also provides media professionals with an opportunity to give something back to the profession by aiding colleagues who will benefit from their experience. For more: 


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2016-02-22 12:37

Contact information

In its media development work, the WAN-IFRA strategy focuses on bringing a new way of thinking to the sector. WAN-IFRA has become a key player in the field of financial independence and management capacity building, conducting groundbreaking research and developing subsequent media development policies. Read more ...

In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...