Democratic Voice of Burma returns to Myanmar after 21 years of exile

In 21 years, the Democratic Voice of Burma has been broadcasting from a back alley on St. Hans Haugen in Oslo. From there, they have become the world’s most famous illegal radio and television station. Now the Democratic Voice of Burma is packing up in Norway and heading for home.

The relocation comes as democracy found its way to Myanmar, which almost happened over night. Some of the final shut downs happen at the same time as President of Myanmar, Thein Sein is visiting Norway.

“I’m pretty much on my way. I’ll cover the presidential visit and then I will return to Thailand. At some point I also have to return to Oslo to help finish up here,” Khin Maung Win said. He is one of the leaders of the Democratic Voice of Burma.

The radio and TV station has had Norway as a base since 1992, but is now on the move. What used to be hectic offices are now filled with cardboard boxes and a whole floor is closed off. Only servers are operating in Oslo next to a remnant of the administration.

The acting head office is now in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, as they prepare to move back into Myanmar.

“There is no technical infrastructure in Burma that we can send from there. But we hope it happens within one or two years. Also we do not yet have the license, but we hope to get it soon, Khin Muang Win says.”

The Democratic Voice of Burma has been an influential service in Myanmar despite of their remote location. Now returning home, they will also be putting their mark on the country from the other sight of the fence, working together with the government

“We have been involved in shaping the new media law in the country, because the authorities have no experience with free and independent media thinking,” says Khin Maung Win and laughs.

He  lived in Norway for a big part of his life and leaving will not be all cheers.

“It will be sad to leave Oslo. Norway and Oslo has meant so much to us,” he says.


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