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VOA, Burma Sign English-Language Programming Deal

VOA director David Ensor and Thein Aung
VOA director David Ensor and Thein Aung
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VOA News
VOA director David Ensor has signed a deal with Burma under which Burmese state radio plans to start broadcasting short, VOA-produced English-language teaching programs.

Ensor announced the groundbreaking agreement Tuesday from Burma's administrative capital, Naypyitaw, where he is holding a series of meetings with senior members of the new, nominally civilian government.

"[Burmese authorities] also have the possibility to use some television programming for English-language teaching as well," said Ensor.

The director also said Burmese Information Minister Kyaw San offered his support for multiple-entry visas to one or two reporters from VOA's Burmese service, allowing them to work in the country for extended periods of time. He described the entry visas as a first step in a process that could lead the U.S. broadcaster to open a news bureau in the country.

Ensor's visit comes as part of a wide-ranging set of diplomatic initiatives aimed at opening Burma to the West after decades of harsh military rule.

The new government, which took office last year, unblocked access to VOA's news website last year. But the international broadcaster has not had an official presence inside the country since Burma gained independence from Britain in 1948.

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