The director-general of posts and telegraphs controls the telephone, telegraph, radio, and postal communications systems. In 2000 there were an estimated 250,000 mainline telephones in use; internal communication is mainly by wireless. In 1997, there were 8,492 cellular phones throughout the country. A satellite communications station that began operating in 1979 links Myanmar with more than 100 countries.
The government provides the only radio and television transmissions through Voice of Myanmar and TV–Myanmar (which broadcasts in color). As of 1999, there were 2 AM and 3 FM radio stations and 2 television stations. In 2000, there were 66 radios and 7 television sets per 1,000 population. As of 2000, Internet access is only legally available for government officials, tourist offices, and a few large businesses. There were only 500 Internet subscribers in 2000.
Chinese- and Indian-language newspapers are not allowed by the government, but two daily papers are still published in English. Leading newspapers in 1999 included Kyemon (1999 circulation, 100,000), Myanma Alin (400,000), and The New Light of Myanmar (14,000). There are some privately published magazines, but none has a high circulation or major influence.
The government professes to uphold freedom of the press, but there are no privately owned newspapers and the print media are government-controlled. In 1963, the government established its own press agency, the News Agency of Burma, with a monopoly on internal news distribution. As of 2002, the six daily papers are:
|L ANGUAGE||C IRCULATION|
|Loktha Pyithu Nayzin||Burmese and English||184,000|
|The New Light of Myanmar||English||14,000|