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Cartoon Show; New Technique for Promoting Public Interest in Transparency

With the support of The Asia Foundation, Spectrum organized two -day cartoon show in Judson Centre, Yangon, attracting nearly two hundred people to enjoy the Exhibition. Forty Myanmar leading cartoonists contributed their art works with critical and unique ideas.

As a special program, Reggae singer Saw Phoe Khwal's entertainment and Charachard drawing program for audience is included. And cartoon works revealing current condition on budget transparency, budget allocation and taxation system of Myanmar are displayed starting from August 11 to August 12, 2017.

At the current state, Myanmar government is showing their interest in improving their practices for budget transparency. They have already publicized Citizen Budget for third times since 2015. But there is still much needed to encourage government to increase the degree of budget transparency in Myanmar.

According to International Budget Partnership, Myanmar ranks two out of 100 on budget transparency, with scant information provided to the public and very few budget documents made available within a timeframe consistent with international standards. That is why this cartoon show aims to stimulate people interest in positive way for demanding more transparency in government spending and taxation for public sake.

In an opening speech, Rev. Mahn Palmerston, General Secretary of Myanmar Church Council said, “Budget transparency is really really important in democracy government. We expect more transparency and more right decision in budget allocation for better future of our citizen. For example, we need more budget in education and health; very important sectors for constructing our nation future.”

Dr. Nyo Nyo Thin, Founder of Yangon Watch, said, “Our citizen should know that budget matter is not only concerned with Government and Hluttaw, it is also concerned with the whole national citizen. So last year, I was in Hluttaw, we were always trying to give pressure for government to have more transparency in government spending. And we pointed out non- transparency projects and as a result, government canceled those projects. So we would like to see this check and balance power survives in Hluttaw for more transparency on public expenditure.”

One of the audiences who visited the cartoon show said to Spectrum that when he saw these cartoons, he came to realize the mutual link between accountability and transparency in government process. That is why he really appreciated the idea of making difficult concept such as budget transparency into understandable cartoon creation.

“Budget Transparency for Improving People Lives” attracts a lot of media attention including broadcast media and print media. Estimated 22 journalists attended the event covering 10 broadcast news and 5 printed news.

During opening ceremony, U Nay Phone Latt, Yangon Regional Member of Parliament (MP) told media, “ When government use income got from public taxation, it should be transparency and in this way, public will know how their tax money are using appropriately. What a more, government should provide quality public service to attract people to pay tax.” And he also suggested that MPs should try to check citizen budget go into right places or not.

Organizer of the event, cartoon Lai Lone (program officer of Spectrum) said, “Usually, Budget sector is not familiar with ordinary people like us. And budget transparency concept is far more difficult to understand. That is why; we got an idea of organizing budget transparency themed cartoon shows to increase public interest in this area.” That event is Spectrum’s second times cartoon event for Budget transparency. On August 21, 2017, we are very proud to declare that we will bring another exciting cartoon show on budget transparency in Myitkyina in Kachin State.

{gallery}Cartoon Exhibition in Yangon{/gallery}

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