The Irrawaddy

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This article is about a news magazine. For other uses, see Irrawaddy.
The Irrawaddy
Editor Aung Zaw
Categories News magazine and online news
Frequency Monthly (English), Weekly (Burmese)
First issue December 1992
Company Irrawaddy Publishing Group (IPG)
Country Chiang Mai, Thailand (headquarters); Rangoon, Burma (bureau, since 2012)
Language English, Burmese

The Irrawaddy (Burmese: ဧရာဝတီ; MLCTS: ei: ra wa. ti) is a newsmagazine published by the Irrawaddy Publishing Group (IPG), founded in 1992 by Burmese exiles living in Thailand. From its inception, IPG (formerly the Burma Information Group, or BIG) has taken an independent stance on Burmese politics, although as a publication produced by former Burmese activists who fled the brutal crackdown on anti-military protests in 1988, it has always been closely associated with the pro-democracy movement. Nonetheless, it remains unaffiliated with any of the political groups that have emerged since the 8-8-88 uprising.

The Irrawaddy is published in both English and Burmese, with a primary focus on Burma, although other Southeast Asian countries are also covered to a lesser extent. It is regarded as one of the foremost journalistic publications dealing with political, social, economic and cultural developments in Burma. In addition to news, it features in-depth political analysis and interviews with a wide range of Burma experts and other influential figures.[1]


The Irrawaddy magazine was founded in 1999, Chiang Mai, Thailand by its current editor and director Aung Zaw. But, its origin dated back to 1992. Aung Zaw, who was a student activist from Rangoon University, Burma who left the country after the 1988 imposition of Martial Law and two years later, founded Burma Information Group (BIG), in Bangkok. He later updated its previous name of Burma Information Group to The Irrawaddy Publishing Group in 1999 in reasons of covering news features in Southeast Asia. Its main office was relocated to Chiang Mai, Thailand in 1995-96.


The Irrawaddy has reported that its web sites had come under attack by a DDos (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks in September 2008 and also in September 2010, which shut down both its English and Burmese online editions.

On 12 March 2011, the Irrawaddy reported that it had been hacked by unknown attackers who posted fake articles on it. The fake articles concerned an alleged feud between Aung Zaw, the Irrawaddy's editor and Aung San Suu Kyi, and the purported death of a popular singer May Sweet.[2] The more divisive piece was titled "Exiled Media outlets lose out on funding thanks to NLD", referring to the opposition National League for Democracy, led by the revered Aung San Suu Kyi. The article suggested that the NLD had encouraged funding cuts for exiled media that have forced a number of organisations, including the Irrawaddy and DVB, to cut programmes and fire staff. The story, which the Irrawaddy quickly flagged up as fictitious, went so far as to include made-up quotes from the organisation's chief editor, Aung Zaw, who allegedly said that "Thanks to her [Aung San Suu Kyi's] request Irrawaddy lost over 1 Million US Dollars in funding and DVB lost 500,000 Euros from their annual budget".[3] Aung Zaw speculated that the attack was launched by a pro-military junta group or Naypyidaw's cyber warfare department.[4]

Accuracy of reporting[edit]

The Irrawaddy occasionally reported inaccurate news while based in Chiang Mai.[citation needed]

  • On February 10, 2011, citing an anonymous senior government official and "sources close to military", the Irrawaddy alleged that the Tatmadaw Commander in Chief Than Shwe would head 'State Supreme Council', an extra-constitutional body which would be the paramount of future government according to Irrawaddy.[5][6] The alleged news was soon further spread by other foreign and exile media including Asian Correspondent and Democratic Voice of Burma.[7][8] The news went so far as to state that a resolution introduced by United States Republican senators, Richard Lugar, Mitch McConnell and Jim Inhofe noted that the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) had been "recently renamed as the State Supreme Council".[9][10]
It turned out to be a rumor according to Derek Tonkin, chairman of Network Myanmar. He stated that State Supreme Council almost certainly did not exist at all.[10] The Wall Street Journal reported that current President Thein Sein is exercising his executive power rather than retired Senior General Than Shwe.[11] There is no report in the state-run media about the "State Supreme Council". The constitution does not define such body.[12]
  • On August 27, 2010, the Irawaddy reported the resignation of Senior General Than Shwe.[13] The news proved to be false when state-run newspapers referred to him as Senior General three days later.[14] Than Shwe ultimately resigned his commission six months later, dissolving the State Peace and Development Council in March 2011 as Thein Sein assumed the presidency of the new government. [15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Interviews". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  2. ^ "Website critical of Myanmar regime hacked". Associated Press (Washington Post). 2011-03-13. Retrieved 2011-03-15. 
  3. ^ Joseph Allchin (2011-03-15). "Burma cyber war breaks new ground". 
  4. ^ "သူခိုးေတြအတြက္ ေရးတဲ့စာ". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved September 10, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Does Than Shwe Retain De Facto Leadership?". The Irrawaddy. April 2, 2011. Retrieved September 10, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Than Shwe to Head Extra-Constitutional 'State Supreme Council'". The Irrawaddy. February 10, 2011. Retrieved September 10, 2011. 
  7. ^ Zin Linn (Apr 2, 2011). "What will be the next move of Burma’s President Thein Sein?". Asian Correspondent. Retrieved September 10, 2011. 
  8. ^ JOSEPH ALLCHIN (10 October 2011). "Army chief officially replaces Than Shwe chief". DVB. Retrieved September 10, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Expressing the sense of the Senate that the President should take certain actions with respect to the Government of Burma.". United States Senate. Retrieved September 10, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Derek Tonkin. "Burmese Perspectives". Network Myanmar. Retrieved September 10, 2011. 
  11. ^ Wsj, A. "Myanmar Head Shows Grit on China-Backed Dam". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 10, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Constitution of Burma". Government of Burma. Retrieved September 15, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Junta Chiefs Resign in Military Reshuffle". Irrawaddy. Retrieved September 10, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Burma's Than Shwe 'remains senior general'". BBC. August 31, 2010. Retrieved September 10, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Is Burma's Strongman Really Retiring?". Time. April 11, 2011. Retrieved January 30, 2015. 

External links[edit]