The Associated Press this week formally dedicated its new bureau in Myanmar, the first all-format international news operation in Yangon.
The ceremony paid tribute to AP’s tenacious longtime correspondent, Aye Aye Win, and her father, U Sein Win, who led AP in Myanmar for 20 years, until 1989, and set a standard for aggressive, accurate reporting in the face of enormous pressure and the constant threat of jail. He was unable to attend due to frail health.
The inscription beneath a portrait of U Sein Win that was hung in the bureau reads: "U Sein Win. Associated Press Correspondent in Yangon (1969-1989). His courage and dedication have inspired generations of Myanmar journalists.”
Located in a modern tower in central Yangon, the office overlooks the old city, a daily reminder of the historic period of change in the country, led for the past two years by a reformist government that has relaxed media restrictions for the first time in decades.
“We are extremely proud to formally dedicate this newest AP bureau, a historic moment in our long commitment to covering Myanmar,” AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll said. “Inside this modern office three international journalists join the talented team of Myanmar journalists who have chronicled events in their country through some very difficult times. They all carry forward the journalistic excellence established by their predecessors, particularly the legendary correspondent U Sein Win.”
The bureau is decorated with images of Myanmar made by AP photographer Khin Maung Win. The team of reporters Yadana Htun and video journalist Zin Chit Aung have recently been joined by correspondent Robin McDowell, previously AP bureau chief in Indonesia, photographer Gemunu Amarasinghe, mostly recently posted in Sri Lanka, and video journalist Raul Gallego.
The ceremony on Aug. 6 followed the opening of the bureau on April 1, soon after AP received government permission to operate the first all-format international bureau in Yangon. Until April, AP worked out of the Win home.
AP has had a strong presence in Myanmar since World War II, particularly in the last 40 years.
Besides Carroll, those attending the event included Senior Managing Editor for International News John Daniszewski, Asia Pacific News Director Brian Carovillano, Asia Photo Editor Greg Baker and Asia Video Editor Celine Rosario.
A number of news and sales executives also traveled to Yangon for the ceremony, including a team leading a two-week training program for 30 Myanmar journalists, part of AP's commitment to the community of local reporters.