The Irrawaddy magazine was sold on Tuesday in Burma for the first time since the once-banned journal was founded more than 20 years ago.
The May issue of the magazine, which ran a cover story on Burma’s relationship with China and the US, went on sale in Rangoon and Mandalay.
The Irrawaddy was first published in 1993, fast becoming a journal of note for Burma watchers with its focus on promoting press freedom and independent media. But restrictions imposed by the former military junta meant it could not be published inside Burma.
After President Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian administration came to office in 2011, Irrawaddy publisher and founder Aung Zaw, along with other members of staff, were allowed to visit Burma, with the magazine even opening up a Rangoon bureau in October 2012. The first copies of The Irrawaddy were distributed inside Burma without charge in December 2012 and March 2013.
Interested readers can purchase The Irrawaddy for 2,800 kyat (US $3.50) at well-known book shops in Rangoon and Mandalay. It aims to expand its network of distributors, sending copies of the magazine to shopping centers such as City Mart and to the capital, Naypyidaw.
“There are many people in the market who are quite interested in The Irrawaddy,” said Chan Myae Aung, The Irrawaddy’s marketing manager.
Kyaw Zwa Moe, the editor of The Irrawaddy magazine, said from now on it will publish the magazine on a monthly basis, featuring sections including news and analysis on Burma’s political, economic, social issues, opinions, lifestyle and cartoons.
“The May issue pays special attention to the sectarian violence in Meikhtila city in Mandalay Division. The cover story was an analysis on the situation of relations between Burma and China, what kinds of policies they have practiced on each other and future prospects of their relations,” explained Kyaw Zaw Moe.
The Irrawaddy was founded in 1993 by a group of Burmese journalists living in exile in Thailand. It is a leading source of reliable news, information, and analysis on Burma and the Southeast Asian region. Its website receives more than five million monthly readers from around the world.