Myanmar Union Minister for Information Dr U Pe Myint highlighted the positive impact of digitisation and social media as the country moves towards a digital economy.
He warned, however, that social media has become a breeding ground for false information.
Dr Myint spoke at plenary session 1 on ‘How We can Adapt to Digital Revolution’ of the 16th Asia Media Summit held in Siem Reap, Cambodia on 12 June 2019.
In his presentation, he said people of Myanmar are enjoying the freedom that was curtailed in the past. They now use social media to express and share their feelings and opinions, even criticisms against the government, which benefit society in general.
“Another positive thing about social media is that users have developed this habit of listening to others, getting practice to improve themselves by hearing other views. Also, it helps people become digital literates in a much easier way. Social media can be a persuasive learning tool,” he added.
People are also becoming entrepreneurs, he said, as they engage in online shopping, allowing them to sell all kinds of merchandise.
He said the most prominent manifestation of the digital revolution in the country has been the use of social media, mostly Facebook. “There are around 21 million social media users or about 40% of Myanmar’s total population of 54 million. Telecom reforms are also in place that have enabled increased mobile penetration. Based on Hootsuite’s We are Social, mobile subscriptions have reached 56.57 million or 105% of the country’s population”.
Dr Myint said much remains to be done for the country to catch up with digital technology and move towards a digital economy.
The government has drawn the Master Plan for e-government from 2016-2020. It has also launched the Myanmar National Portal in September, 2018
He said that the e-governance master plan will be implemented by various ministries in cooperation with the private sector.
“We need digital infrastructure and trained personal and major investments. This will require time and resources, and we need the cooperation and collaboration between government, private sector and citizens”, he added.