Sunday, November 18, 2007

I was just interviewed by VOA

I just got off the phone with a correspondent from Voice of America's Burmese Service. He had called me to do a prerecorded phone interview. It concerned the "Reporters Without Borders Award." Unfortunately, my interview got off to a rocky start:
VOA: "What's your name."

Jotman: "I can't tell you, I'm anonymous."

VOA: "Then what do I call you?"

Jotman: "Call me Jotman."

VOA: "Where are you from?"

Jotman: "Sorry, I can't say."

VOA: "Are you Thai?"

Jotman: "Sorry, I can't answer that question."
These are my reflections on the experience:
  • I think my VOA interviewer had not interviewed so many anonymous bloggers before. And I certainly felt like a novice at giving interviews anonymously. So it was a challenge all round.
  • It also felt funny to be on the receiving end of interview questions. Lately, I've been the one asking the questions!
  • I can't believe I was asked to give an interview at 1:00am! When do VOA's reporters sleep?
  • While I was one the phone, it occurs to me that some spy agency of the Burmese junta probably monitors VOA broadcasts quite closely. So I'm thinking I have to watch what I say.
  • That's not all. I have come to realize that the audience for VOA's Burmese Service must be enormous. From what Burmese have told me, VOA's Burmese Service is likely the single most popular source of information in Burma. (BBC seems to be their second choice. I get the impression VOA does the most local Burma news programming -- such as the interview I just gave.) So tens of millions of Burmese are about to discover Jotman.
In the fight against the Burmese regime, the BBC and VOA are among the most important -- and abroad the least widely appreciated -- things the outside world does to support the democracy movement inside Burma. As I wrote elsewhere, supporting good broadcast journalism is certainly a more effective investment than building more bombs and guns. It wasn't missiles that brought down the Berlin Wall.

Speaking of VOA, after my visit to Burma in October, I blogged what it feels like to listen to VOA inside Burma (see here).

Update: A transcript of VOA's interview of Jotman is available here (it's in Burmese, via naymyohome).


  1. Felicitaciones por el premio BOBs.

    Un abrazo desde Colombia y besitos para tu alma!

  2. hi
    mr .jot man
    i am a myanmar. now stay in japan. i am blogger for my country freedom.i am very proud of for your Award. Can you visit my blog.

  3. Thanks Lully and Than, will visit your blogs.


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