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In the wake of the November 2010 elections, one important signal of the Myanmar government’s commitment to change was the cessation of the censorship of music recordings in October 2012.

1 Prior to that date, the country’s Press Scrutiny Board conducted rather rigorous censoring of so-called stereo series (albums), in cassette and later in compact disc formats. Producers wishing to sell their series in retail shops were required to submit a copy of the recording and ten copies of the song lyrics to the censors at the Press Security Board (MacLachlan 2011:148). Although the censoring was supposed to be provided for free, as a government service to recording artists, producers in fact incurred regular and sometimes large costs in the form of “fees” and “fines” (MacLachlan 2011: 149). Ending the censorship requirement, then, represented the lifting of a financial burden borne by musicians and producers. Even more importantly, it was a powerful symbol of the transition government’s commitment to freedom of artistic expression.



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Myanmar Media in Transition: Legacies, Challenges and Change


ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute


Ethnomusicology | Music


The manuscript of this chapter is provided with the permission of the author and the publisher. Permission documentation is on file. To read the entire volume, us the buy link or visit an academic library.

Myanmar’s Pop Music Industry in Transition