Myanmar is one of the most progressive nations on earth. They have progressed to the point where the ruling junta with absolute control over the country. One of the most notable features of a progressive society is that the media is owned by the peoples.
According to First Lady Laura Bush, the state run media failed to tell the people that a cyclone was on the way. The cyclone is reported to have killed some 20,000 people in the impoverished country.
Anyway the failure of the state run media to warn people about a cyclone got me thinking about the nature of the free press. There is a market for quality weather information. The free market does a very good job of delivering that information. An added benefit of this the market for weather information is that the press has developed extremely sophisticated mechanism for collecting, analyzing and predicting weather. The free press led to a system that can provide enough warning of impending natural distaster to reduce casualties.
A state run press, however, answers to the needs of the political ruling class. Its primary concern is in dosing out information such that the junta stays in power.
I wish this was understood, but when people are the market for a service, the service does a better job serving the people.
When the desires of a political class is the primary market, then the people go underserved. In Myanmar, people died because state run media failed to provide the information that a privately owned media would have provided.