Latest Democracy Sausage Episode: Political prisoners

Photo by Utsman Media on Unsplash
Wednesday 22 May 2024

Economics professor, Sean Turnell, and writer and surgeon, Ma Thida, join us to discuss their experiences as political prisoners and their hopes for Myanmar’s future.

Sean Turnell and Ma Thida have both experienced the terror of being locked up in Myanmar.

So how did they survive?

What do they think were Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s missteps during leadership and prior to the 2021 military coup? 

And how hopeful are they that democracy may return to Myanmar? 

On this episode of Democracy Sausage, previous political prisoners, Sean Turnell and Ma Thida, join Professor Mark Kenny to discuss imprisonment, democratisation and the future of Myanmar.

Listen here: AcastApple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts.

Sean Turnell is an Honorary Professor of Economics at Macquarie University. He has been a Senior Economic Analyst at the Reserve Bank of Australia, a policy adviser for institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. He served as the senior economic adviser to Myanmar’s government led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and was imprisoned for 650 days after the 2021 military coup. 

Ma Thida is a Burmese human rights activist, surgeon and writer. She was imprisoned for six years in Insein prison in the 1990s for her pro-democracy activism. Currently, she is the chair of PEN International Writers in Prison committee. 

Mark Kenny is the Director of the ANU Australian Studies Institute. He came to the University after a high-profile journalistic career including six years as chief political correspondent and national affairs editor for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times.

Democracy Sausage with Mark Kenny is available on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPocket CastsGoogle Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

We’d love to hear your feedback on this series, so send in your questions, comments or suggestions for future episodes to

This podcast is produced by The Australian National University.

Updated:  23 May 2024/Responsible Officer:  Institute Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications