Top Bureaucrat, Former Censor-in-Chief Resigns

By Nyein Nyein 13 July 2016

RANGOON — Tint Swe, permanent secretary and spokesman of the Ministry of Information, submitted his resignation on Friday, citing family and social obligations.

The 51-year-old former army major previously served as the chief censor at the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division under the military regime, and as the director general of the MoI’s Information and Communication Department, until he was promoted to being the top bureaucrat in the ministry in April 2015.

The Press Scrutiny and Registration Division was notorious in Burma for its rigid imposition of censorship, which blocked all political and cultural content deemed inappropriate, until the lifting of pre-publication censorship on print media in 2012.

The official letter from the ministry approving his resignation has yet not been received, the outgoing bureaucrat said. Any civil servant over the age of 50 with 25 years of service is eligible for a pension on resigning.

Tint Swe, who served the government (and military) for 33 years, said, “I did the best I could for the ministry. And I hope the ministry will be better off with my successor, because I am sure there are many qualified people who are better than me.”

The position of permanent secretary was created for each ministry under the previous administration of President Thein Sein, with the mandate of “supervising and coordinating” operations within their respective ministry.

Under the Thein Sein government, the Ministry of Information announced a reorientation towards “public service media.” But challenges remain, Tint Swe said, with the state newspapers and broadcasters largely continuing in their role as official “state media.”

Tint Twe is also an established columnist, and intends to keep writing after spending more time with his family.

“I may work for the development of the media, in a way that would benefit the country,” he added.