One of the guys who helped set up
After ten years as a wall poster newspaper, Independence was published as a printed newspaper beginning in 1984. In 1991, the Shan Herald Agency for News was established in Shan State under the leadership of its current director, Khuensai Jaiyen, in order to oversee the publishing of Independence. In 1996, the newspaper was moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand, where it was better able to maintain its independence from armed political factions operating in Shan State. Saengjuen Sarawin is the deputy director and the Burmese- and Shan-language editor.
The Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.) seeks to fill the information void and shed light on the current situation in Shan State. Due to its size and the active participation of its leadership in national politics, Shan State acts as an important barometer of regime pressure and policies in the ethnic states. Through the publication of its monthly newspaper Independence, its website and email information service, S.H.A.N. provides one of the few sources of news about events occurring in Shan State and is a valuable resource for the Shan community in Burma and the Shan exile community in Thailand, as well as for Burma-watchers in the international community.
· To provide accurate and reliable information to the Burmese, Shan, Thai and the international community about political, social and economic developments in Shan State and Burma, and about the efforts of pro-democracy, student, ethnic and labor organizations to promote peace and democracy in Burma.
· To promote increased understanding among Shan of human rights, democracy, federalism, and ethnic rights.
· To educate the Shan people about the cultural, historical and linguistic heritage of Shan State.
The Thailand-based Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.) writes, edits, publishes and distributes its newspaper, Independence, and distributes material about Shan State on its web page and by e-mail. Independence is approximately 48 pages in length and is published in the Shan and Burmese languages.
Through a network of supporters and regular correspondence with readers inside Shan State, the S.H.A.N. staff collects news and photographs from inside Shan State on a regular basis. S.H.A.N. also dispatches field reporters to Shan State to cover specific issues when conditions permit and interviews people from Shan State when they arrive at the Thai-Burma and China-Burma borders. In addition, given the proximity to Shan State, S.H.A.N. is able to monitor the military junta’s radio broadcasts.
S.H.A.N. makes a concerted effort to translate and print relevant articles in a number of different languages. Articles are translated from Shan to English, Thai and Burmese. Articles are also translated from English, Burmese and Thai to Shan. Each article printed in Independence is edited for clarity and accuracy. The paper uses photographs, illustrations and cartoons to enliven the publication.
The target audience includes Shans inside Burma who do not have access to information from sources other than the official Burmese state-run media; Shans living in Thailand and abroad; and Burmese-speaking readers inside and outside Burma. S.H.A.N. also seeks to reach English-speaking readers and Thai-speaking readers who are interested in the situation inside Shan State. The newspaper is distributed through a network of activists along the Thai-Burma and China-Burma borders. It is also sent by courier directly into Shan State, and distributed at Shan temples in Thailand, a central focus of Shan culture and activity. Finally, the newspaper is distributed to international NGOs and other interested parties. S.H.A.N. prints 3,000 copies per issue monthly.
S.H.A.N. also publishes Salween Post in Thai language jointly with Salween News Network every month as well as a Weekly Diary News online and a monthly online newsletter. S.H.A.N. also maintains websites featuring information on Shan State, at www.shanland.org for English-language and for Shan-language. In 2005, the website received an average of over 6,000 visits per month. It is not affiliated with any of the organizations linked to the site.
The Golden Rule
According to the Buddha, there are six types of speeches:
¨ One that is false, displeasing and detrimental;
¨ One that is true but displeasing and detrimental;
¨ One that is pleasing but false and detrimental;
¨ One that is true and pleasing but detrimental;
¨ One that is true, pleasing and beneficial; and
¨ One that is displeasing but true and beneficial.
The Buddha and his followers used only the two last types of speeches.