Congratulatory Messages on The Irrawaddy’s 30th Anniversary

October 24, 2023


โ€˜๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ˆ๐ซ๐ซ๐š๐ฐ๐š๐๐๐ฒ ๐ญ๐ก๐ซ๐จ๐ฎ๐ ๐ก ๐ข๐ญ๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ซ๐ญ๐ฒ-๐ฒ๐ž๐š๐ซ ๐ฉ๐ฎ๐›๐ฅ๐ข๐œ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐ก๐š๐ฌ ๐›๐ž๐ž๐ง ๐š ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐œ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐๐ž๐›๐š๐ญ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ๐ฐ๐š๐ซ๐ ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐ž๐ž๐๐จ๐ฆโ€™

Few places in the contemporary world have surpassed Burma/Myanmar in the continuity of its ethnic strife, cleansing, and population displacement. Dictatorial rule, endemic violence, repression of civil liberties, and virtual, multiple civil wars prevail. Its varied populations live in seemingly perpetual and increasing poverty. Its people have been suppressed, their access to fair and balanced reporting and information constrained. Biased appraisals of internal conditions have hindered foreign understanding of the complexities of its multiple, contending forces. Repression and intimidation of the media destroys rational policy formulation.

The need for the press to provide balanced, critical analysis under such circumstances is evident and essential. Media suppression, control, and intimidation from all outlets hinder the analyses required to overcome problems, negotiate disputes, and ensure tranquility and civil liberties.

The Irrawaddy has played an important role pursuing varied thought. Fostering democratic forces, it has published alternative views under its own banner, although hopes and aspirations often outpaced reality. It has been open to debate and eschewed censorship.

Through its staff writings and guest columnists, The Irrawaddy through its thirty-year publication has been a force for debate toward freedom. Its search for balance and objectivity, always tenuous, should continue, both by contributing to policy formulation and as an exemplar of the value of an untrampled press.

David I. Steinberg
Distinguished professor of Asian studies emeritus
Georgetown University

โ€˜๐€ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ฎ๐๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐š๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐š ๐ง๐จ๐ฏ๐ข๐œ๐ž ๐ฃ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ง๐š๐ฅ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญโ€™๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ซ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ž๐ง๐œ๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐ซโ€™

One late summer day in 1991, I was given the address of the place in Bangkok where some of the students who fled Myanmar following the 1988 popular uprising took shelter. It was my first overseas newsgathering trip, having joined the Burmese Service of the BBC World Service as a broadcast journalist two years earlier.

I arrived at the place, which I later discovered belonged to a church. It was a two-story wooden house. There was another wooden house opposite and the occupant of the house was the world-renowned journalist Bertil Lintner. I walked into the house where the students were staying and in the drawing room downstairs, I found two young students sitting close together on a wooden two-seater. They were very young, in their late teens, they looked at me with wide eyes, somewhat lost and bewildered. I cannot recall the name of the second student but the person sitting next to me was Aung Zaw.

That was 32 years ago.

Over the last three decades, Aung Zaw has become โ€œIrrawaddy Aung Zawโ€, an award-winning, distinguished and highly respected Myanmar journalist. His news magazine, The Irrawaddy periodical, has become a household name among world leaders, politicians, scholars, Myanmar watchers and anyone who is interested in Myanmar affairs. It is regarded as one of the foremost journalistic publications dealing with the political, social, economic and cultural aspects of Myanmar.

The journey of Aung Zaw and The Irrawaddy has not been an easy one, however. In the โ€™90s the Myanmar military regime put pressure on Thai authorities to stop Aung Zaw from contributing articles to the English editions of Thai newspapers. But he persevered and The Irrawaddy marks 30 years of being at the heart of our lives this October. Its legacy is undoubtably Myanmarโ€™s best and foremost symbol of freedom of speech!

Tin Htar Swe
Veteran Myanmar Journalist

โ€˜๐“๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐ฆ๐จ๐ง๐ข๐š๐ฅ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ˆ๐ซ๐ซ๐š๐ฐ๐š๐๐๐ฒโœ๐ฌ ๐Ÿ‘๐ŸŽ๐ญ๐ก ๐€๐ง๐ง๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐š๐ซ๐ฒโ€™

For three decades, The Irrawaddy has been a beacon of light in the darkness. With unwavering bravery, through far too many years of military violence and repression, the magazine has ensured the Burmese people, and those allied with them globally, remain informed about developments in their country.

This public service has been particularly crucial as Burma has continued to move in and out of global consciousness. For those of us to whom Burma remains deeply important, who understand that the people of this special but complex place deserve consistent attention and support, The Irrawaddy has been a lifeline – essential reading for all of us to stay connected, informed, and to continue our education about its history and culture.

What has been particularly admirable is that The Irrawaddy team, led by founder Aung Zaw and brother Kyaw Zwa Moe, does not pull punches, but conducts its work without fear or favor, regardless of the subject. That includes asking hard questions even of allies – including my old boss President Obama!

Ultimately, The Irrawaddy and its journalistic colleagues continue to keep the flame of press freedom and democracy alive in their country, despite the ever-present prospect of arrest or worse. I look forward to the day when they are able once again to operate openly, safely and securely inside their beautiful and beloved country, in a free, peaceful, just and democratic Burma.

Derek Mitchell
Former US Ambassador to Myanmar

โ€˜๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ˆ๐ซ๐ซ๐š๐ฐ๐š๐๐๐ฒโ€™๐ฌ ๐ข๐ง๐๐ข๐ ๐ž๐ง๐จ๐ฎ๐ฌ ๐œ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐š๐ ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐š๐ง๐š๐ฅ๐ฒ๐ฌ๐ข๐ฌ ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ข๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฎ๐ฌโ€™

The Irrawaddy is an institution in itself for championing the cause of human rights and democracy in Burma/Myanmar. When Burma/Myanmar is down, The Irrawaddy is up and out there to call out rights violations and injustices. During the decade of reform and development in 2011-21, The Irrawaddyโ€™s value went down because better prospects appeared on the horizon. Many thought that perhaps, if Myanmar had continued on its promising path, the hard-hitting magazine may no longer be needed because it had been initially set up to undermine, erode and overcome an entrenched military dictatorship. Itโ€™s a good thing The Irrawaddy never folded because it is now needed more than ever. It has come back to once again thrive in the countryโ€™s pro-democracy and anti-dictatorship space. The Irrawaddyโ€™s news flow and incisive and indigenous coverage and analysis are imperative for all of us who want to keep up with whatโ€™s going on in Burma/Myanmar and who want to see better days ahead in the current tunnel of violence and darkness perpetrated by the old-style military regime.

Thitinan Pongsudhirak
Professor in the Faculty of Political Science at Chulalongkorn University and a senior fellow at its Institute of Security and International Studies

โ€˜๐€ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฅ๐ข๐š๐›๐ฅ๐ž ๐ฌ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐œ๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฎ๐ฉ-๐ญ๐จ-๐๐š๐ญ๐ž ๐ข๐ง๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ฆ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ฅ๐จ๐œ๐š๐ฅ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ข๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ง๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐š๐ฅ ๐š๐ฎ๐๐ข๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž๐ฌโ€™

The Irrawaddy was founded as an exiled media organization in 1993 by a group of activists who had fled the bloody crackdowns on the 1988 popular uprising in Myanmar.

Named after the Irrawaddy River, the lifeblood of Myanmar, The Irrawaddy media also flows throughout the country despite various challenges, distributing news and knowledge among the news-starved people under the regime.

Published in Burmese and English, The Irrawaddy mainly covers events in Myanmar and Southeast Asia.

Its coverage comprises a wide range of topics, including politics, the economy, human rights, health, culture and the arts.

In addition to unbiased news, it provides insightful analysis and exclusive interviews with prominent figures from various fields.

The Irrawaddy, with several online media platforms and a monthly print publication, has now become a reliable source of up-to-date information for local and international audiences.

It may not be an overstatement to say that The Irrawaddy has now become one of the international reference points for Myanmar affairs.

Keep up all your achievements, The Irrawaddy! I wish you all the best and hope you flow forever along with the mighty river.

Kyaw Zan Tha
Veteran Myanmar Journalist, VOA

โ€˜๐“๐ก๐ž ๐›๐ซ๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐œ๐ก๐ซ๐จ๐ง๐ข๐œ๐ฅ๐ž๐ซ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐๐ฎ๐ซ๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ๐ž ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ซ๐ฎ๐ ๐ ๐ฅ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐ž๐ž๐๐จ๐ฆ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐๐ž๐ฆ๐จ๐œ๐ซ๐š๐œ๐ฒโ€™

The Irrawaddy is the brave chronicler of the Burmese struggle for freedom and democracy. The last 30 years have been a roller-coaster ride for Burmaโ€”the horrors of military rule, followed by a brief democratic spring, and once again, the reign of repression. The Irrawaddy was there, reporting on the ground, telling stories of hope, fear and tyranny. The Irrawaddy and its fearless reporting provide light in this dark moment in Burma’s history. Carry on! Keep the fire burning and the hope alive!

Sheila Coronel
Investigative journalist
Co-founder of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

โ€˜๐€ ๐ฅ๐ข๐ ๐ก๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐ญ๐š๐ง๐ญ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ฎ๐ฉ๐๐š๐ญ๐ž๐ ๐ง๐ž๐ฐ๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐จ๐ฉ๐ข๐ง๐ข๐จ๐งโ€™

Congratulations to the Irrawaddy on what has been a truly remarkable 30 year run of chronicling the full spectrum of events shaping modern Myanmar in an era of constant change and now, revolutionary upheaval!

Keeping up with the sheer pace of events unfolding across a large and dauntingly complex country at such a time is no easy task. But whether from exile or within the countryโ€™s borders, the Irrawaddyโ€™s timely, tireless and doggedly independent reporting has provided both Myanmarโ€™s citizens and foreign observers seeking to untangle events with a lighthouse of constantly updated news and opinion. At the same time, the standards of professionalism established over the years by Team Irrawaddy stand as both an example and an inspiration for a new generation of Myanmar journalists whose work will be ever more critical in the years to come.
None of this has happened by accident. In addition to steady editorial leadership and direction, it has taken dedication, long hours, and often real courage on the part of reporters. Nor should we forget that invariably infallible team of sub-editors and proof-readers who seem never to let a typo slip through.

As the people of Myanmar finally face down their would-be military overlords, the coming months and years of war will undoubtedly bring even greater challenges to those committed to collecting and presenting the news that so many rely on. Itโ€™s reassuring to know that the commitment and example of the Irrawaddy will continue to play a lead role in guiding Myanmarโ€™s emerging community of young journalists.

Happy birthday!

Anthony Davis
Analyst, Janes Defence Publications

โ€˜๐Œ๐š๐ฒ ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ˆ๐ซ๐ซ๐š๐ฐ๐š๐๐๐ฒ ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐ฎ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ ๐Ÿ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฐ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐Ÿ๐ž๐๐ž๐ซ๐š๐ฅ๐ข๐ฌ๐ฆ, ๐๐ž๐ฆ๐จ๐œ๐ซ๐š๐œ๐ฒ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ก๐ฎ๐ฆ๐š๐ง ๐ซ๐ข๐ ๐ก๐ญ๐ฌโ€™

The Irrawaddy was established by comrades who joined the 8888 Uprising, and was born out of that uprising. For a democracy to thrive in Myanmar, there must be checks and balances provided by media without any restriction. The Irrawaddy has always served and is still serving that duty. It has turned 30 years old. Just as Myanmarโ€™s principal river, the Ayeyarwady, has woven a rich history and cultures for Myanmar, may The Irrawaddy continue to flow for federalism, democracy and human rights, which are the inalienable rights of the Myanmar people. May The Irrawaddy continue to move forward from its 30th anniversary to federal democracy!

Mya Aye
Veteran Democracy Activist
Former โ€™88 Generation Student

โ€˜๐‚๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐š๐ ๐ž ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐Ÿ๐š๐œ๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐š๐๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒโ€™

There is no doubt that The Irrawaddy shines as a fearless and professionally executed exemplar of journalism in the face of adversity. It has rightfully earned its place as one of the most relied upon sources for news and analyses on what is going on in Myanmar. This is no small feat, considering the formidable challenges and difficulties it confronts.

We in Thailand have had our fair share of being under military dictatorships, so we empathize with the daunting task of maintaining journalistic independence and uncovering truths in such environments.

The editors and staff members of The Irrawaddy should be proud of being seen by its followers and supporters as a beacon of courage and integrity in this most difficult time.

Thepchai Yong
Executive Advisor, Thai PBS World

โ€˜๐€ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐๐ž๐ฆ๐จ๐œ๐ซ๐š๐œ๐ฒ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐š ๐ฌ๐œ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ ๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐š๐ฎ๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ซ๐ข๐ญ๐š๐ซ๐ข๐š๐ง ๐ซ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌโ€™

Iโ€™m delighted to congratulate Irrawaddy on its 30th anniversary. Since its founding, The Irrawaddy has been committed to the independent, credible journalism that is a foundation of democracy and a scourge of authoritarian rulers. I have been reading it daily for at least 15 years and have been consistently impressed by the quality of its journalism and the courage and professionalism of its leadership and staff during many difficult years. The Irrawaddy was founded and spent its early years in exile during the dark days of military dictatorship. It thrived during the decade of reform, taking advantage of newly found freedoms and openness to expand its coverage of national and regional issues. Sadly, following the military coup of February 2021, it has been forced back into exile, with the juntaโ€™s harsh repression requiring The Irrawaddy team to show immense courage and creativity to continue its reporting. Today, The Irrawaddy stands as one of only a small number of truly independent media outlets reporting accurately and factually on the horrific crisis facing Myanmar. On its 30th anniversary, it is important that we pay tribute to the Irrawaddy as well as to other independent media in Myanmar, and that we do all we can to ensure such independent media continues into the future.

Scot Marciel
Former US Ambassador to Myanmar

โ€˜๐€๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ž๐Ÿ๐ซ๐จ๐ง๐ญ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐Œ๐ฒ๐š๐ง๐ฆ๐š๐ซโœ๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ซ๐ฎ๐ญ๐ก-๐ญ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ ๐ก๐š๐ฌ ๐›๐ž๐ž๐ง ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ˆ๐ซ๐ซ๐š๐ฐ๐š๐๐๐ฒโ€™

Military mis-rule and its attendant atrocities have been a constant in Myanmar for the past 30 years (and beyond). Also a constant have been the efforts of so many brave Myanmar journalists to report this baleful story as the first, necessary, effort in turning this around. At the forefront of Myanmar’s truth-tellers has been The Irrawaddy. Founded three decades ago one might have hoped its mission to promote the freedom of Myanmar’s people would have been rendered obsolete long ago. Alas it is not so. The Irrawaddy thus goes on. I congratulate it, wish it well, and hope that sooner the arc of its story becomes that of redemption, and a new dawn of the country it has served so well.

Sean Turnell
Former Economic Policy Advisor to Aung San Suu Kyi

โ€˜๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ˆ๐ซ๐ซ๐š๐ฐ๐š๐๐๐ฒ ๐ฉ๐ฎ๐ญ๐ฌ ๐ ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ญ ๐ฏ๐š๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ž ๐ข๐ง ๐ข๐ง๐๐ž๐ฉ๐ž๐ง๐๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž, ๐ก๐จ๐ง๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ฒ, ๐ข๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐ ๐ซ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ, ๐›๐ซ๐š๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฃ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐œ๐žโ€™

Ethnic media KIC is glad and proud that The Irrawaddy is turning 30 in 2023. Started as an exiled media organization, The Irrawaddy has been a trustworthy media outlet for more than a generation despite experiencing many twists and turns.

I have learned that The Irrawaddy puts great value in independence, honesty, integrity, bravery and justice with a commitment to readers and society. The Irrawaddy has therefore been able to provide reliable information over the past three decades, and may The Irrawaddy continue to serve the entire population with creativity, independence and fairness for many years to come.

At the same time, I want The Irrawaddy to work together with independent local media outlets in the respective regions and states to further the cause of press freedom and freedom of speech for the people as they rebuild the nation.

Nan Paw Gay
Director and Editor-in-Chief, Karen Information Center

โ€˜๐Ÿ‘๐ŸŽ ๐˜๐ž๐š๐ซ๐ฌ ๐–๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ˆ๐ซ๐ซ๐š๐ฐ๐š๐๐๐ฒโ€™

I have seen The Irrawaddy grow from being an irregular, stenciled newsletter to what it is today: one of the best, if not the best, sources of information about news and developments in Burma and related events in the Southeast Asian region. Its bilingual website, online TV, and monthly printed journal are widely read and listened to by Burmese in exile as well as inside the country, international journalists, scholars, diplomats and decision makers. I still remember those steamy nights in Bangkok 30 years ago when a small team decided to set up a publication that would regularly report on the aftermath of the 1988 pro-democracy uprising in Burma, and which would not be affiliated with any particular political group or faction. First based in the Thai capital, it moved to Chiang Mai and, from 2012 to the 2021 coup, it was even able to have an office in Yangon. Today, as The Irrawaddy celebrates three decades of independent journalism, I can only wish it a Happy Birthday. I hope, as darkness has yet again descended upon Burma, that The Irrawaddy will continue to provide people like me with the kind of reliable information and analyses that cannot be found elsewhere, in print or online.

Bertil Lintner
Veteran Swedish journalist and author

โ€˜๐ˆ ๐ฌ๐š๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ญ๐ž ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ˆ๐ซ๐ซ๐š๐ฐ๐š๐๐๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ข๐ญ๐ฌ ๐๐ž๐๐ข๐œ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐š๐ง๐ ๐œ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐š๐ ๐ž ๐ข๐ง ๐ฌ๐ญ๐š๐ฒ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐œ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ฌ๐žโ€™

The timeline of Burmese history over the past 30 years runs parallel with the crucial lifeline of information The Irrawaddy has provided for its readers all throughout. With gratitude and very best wishes for the next 30 years, I salute The Irrawaddy for its dedication and courage in staying the course, keeping the faith, and delivering.

Wendy Law-Yone
Burmese-American novelist and journalist

โ€˜๐€ ๐ ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ญ ๐ฌ๐ž๐ซ๐ฏ๐ข๐œ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐œ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฉ๐ž๐š๐œ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ก๐š๐ซ๐ฆ๐จ๐ง๐ฒ ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ฅ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ญ๐จ๐จ ๐ญ๐จ๐ฎ๐ ๐ก ๐ญ๐จ ๐ญ๐š๐ฆ๐žโ€™

There are a lot of good things to say about The Irrawaddy. But I will focus on only one aspect of the whole spectrum: Federalism, which since before independence has been at the epicenter of the tumultuous politics of this country.

The Irrawaddy through its numerous interviews, analyses and reports on the subject, has done a great service to the cause of peace and harmony in this land too tough to tame.

In a way, we should thank the Four 8s uprising, which shook this homeland of ours and led thousands of young men and women, mostly Bamars, to the border areas where the non-Bamars have long been waging a war for federalism and equality.

These young people, who were brought up by the military rulerโ€™s education system, which taught them โ€œfederalism is secessionโ€, were introduced to a different version: That it was not about secession. It was (and is), on the contrary, about equal status for all the different cultures and societies in the country. To be short and to the point, Unity in Diversity.

Nothing sells better than when customers start spreading the news. And nothing is more powerful than the media. And The Irrawaddy was in the forefront. The results: When peace talks began in 2011, there were surprisingly few dissenting voices against the calls for federalism by the ethnic armed organizations. Subsequently, federalism was incorporated into the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, which even the Tatmadaw, Myanmarโ€™s military, signed. At present, almost all those fighting against the military, which seized power in 2021, have unquestioningly adopted the tenet.

All these things have happened because of the media, and one of the foremost is, without doubt, The Irrawaddy, among a few others. It offers glaring proof of what Oscar Wilde once said: The press is the only estate.

They say journalism is what we need to make democracy work. In our country, it wouldnโ€™t be too much to say that it is also what we need to make federalism, together with peaceful coexistence, work.

May The Irrawaddy continue to lead the way!

Khuensai Jaiyen
Editor-in-Chief (Retired)
Shan Herald Agency for Al Jadeed News

โ€˜๐€ ๐ฉ๐š๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐š๐ญ๐ž ๐š๐ฌ๐ฉ๐ข๐ซ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฌ๐ž๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ก๐ž๐ฅ๐ฉ ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐ž๐ž๐๐จ๐ฆ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฉ๐ž๐š๐œ๐žโ€™

I have a feeling that I got to knowโ€”and to appreciateโ€”The Irrawaddy even before it existed. My interest in Burmaโ€™s democratic struggle started in the early 1990s and one of the first things I discovered and started to follow was the articles and commentaries by young journalists from Burma that were appearing in Thai media. Aung Zaw was one of the first Burmese names I learned and remembered. There was a unique clarity, elegance and sharpness in his writing which I liked a lot. I became a regular reader of Aung Zawโ€™s articles and as The Irrawaddy started to develop and grow, a regular reader of The Irrawaddy magazine and later a regular visitor to the website. More than anything else, I have been coming back to The Irrawaddy pages and sites, to look for opinions from contributors.

I know that I am not the only foreigner who started, as a reader of The Irrawaddy, to become more and more immersed in Burmaโ€™s democratic struggle. Not the only one who became more and more inspired by the dream of the golden land that has liberated itself from fear and oppression. And not the only one who became a regular reader of The Irrawaddy. In the meantime, we learned something about the country we started to love and became ourselves companions and participants in the collective dream of freedom and rights. Along that path, at some point, we also become contributors to The Irrawaddyโ€™s opinion pages and also part of the heroic struggle of Myanmar for its liberation from military terror and abuse.

In the last 30 years The Irrawaddy and other Myanmar independent media have gone through a dramatic and impressive development. There have been several moments of exuberant hope and long periods of significant hardship, danger and trauma. All the time, in the good times and in the long bad times, The Irrawaddy and other Myanmar independent media have maintained a high degree of professional quality and integrity, combined with a passionate aspiration to see and help freedom and peace come to the much tried country and its people.

Igor Blazevic
Senior adviser at the Prague Civil Society Centre College

โ€˜๐€๐ฎ๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ซ๐ข๐ญ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐ฌ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐œ๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ง๐ž๐ฐ๐ฌ, ๐ข๐ง๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ฆ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐š๐ง๐ ๐š๐ง๐š๐ฅ๐ฒ๐ฌ๐ข๐ฌ ๐จ๐ง ๐Œ๐ฒ๐š๐ง๐ฆ๐š๐ซโ€™

For the past three decades, in fact from the first day of my journalistic career, The Irrawaddy has been an up-to-date and authoritative source of news, information and analysis on Myanmar.

Kavi Chongkittavorn
Veteran journalist covering Southeast Asian affairsย 

โ€˜๐๐ซ๐จ๐ฏ๐ข๐๐ž๐ซ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฅ๐ข๐š๐›๐ฅ๐ž ๐ข๐ง๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ฆ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐ญ๐จ ๐Œ๐ฒ๐š๐ง๐ฆ๐š๐ซ ๐ฉ๐ž๐จ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ข๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ง๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐š๐ฅ ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐๐ž๐ซ๐ฌโ€™

I am proud that the local-led media The Irrawaddy reaches a global audience and provides reliable information to Myanmar people and international readers as an independent media.

The Irrawaddy has been able to reach local, regional and international audiences and I expect and support The Irrawaddy to become a crucial media outlet pushing for human rights, democracy, peace, and justice in Myanmar.

Dr Cynthia Maung
Mae Tao Clinic for migrants and IDPs on the Myanmar-Thai border

โ€˜๐Ÿ‘๐ŸŽ ๐ฒ๐ž๐š๐ซ๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ๐ž๐š๐ซ๐ฅ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐š๐๐Ÿ๐š๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ฃ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ง๐š๐ฅ๐ข๐ฌ๐ฆโ€™

The Irrawaddy has reached a milestoneโ€”30 years of fearless and steadfast journalism. Founded in 1993, The Irrawaddy has been an unwavering voice in the landscape of Burmese media, offering a beacon of truth in an environment often mired by restrictions on press freedom. Its commitment to investigative reporting, in-depth analyses, and critical viewpoints has not only enriched the discourse surrounding politics, society, and culture in Myanmar but has also informed a global audience eager to understand this complex country.

Over the years, The Irrawaddy has navigated through challenges that would deter less-resilient publications. From combating censorship to overcoming logistical constraints, its team has displayed an admirable dedication to the journalistic ethos. The magazine has covered a wide array of subjects, from humanitarian crises to political upheavals, capturing the nuanced realities of life in Myanmar.

The Irrawaddy’s indelible impact extends beyond just news coverage. It has been a platform for aspiring journalists, nurturing a generation of reporters committed to ethical storytelling. As we celebrate its 30th anniversary, we acknowledge not just its past achievements, but its continuing role in shaping a more informed and engaged citizenry. Here’s to many more years of credible, impactful journalism from The Irrawaddy.

Gustaaf Houtman
Anthropology Today, The Royal Anthropological Institute, London

โ€˜๐–๐ž ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ ๐ซ๐š๐ญ๐ž๐Ÿ๐ฎ๐ฅ ๐ญ๐จ ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ˆ๐ซ๐ซ๐š๐ฐ๐š๐๐๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ก๐ž๐ฅ๐ฉ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ค๐ž๐ž๐ฉ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ฅ๐ ๐ข๐ง๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ฆ๐ž๐ ๐š๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐Œ๐ฒ๐š๐ง๐ฆ๐š๐ซโ€™

Congratulations to The Irrawaddy on 30 years of covering Myanmar and Southeast Asia! The East-West Center has called on The Irrawaddy and Editor Aung Zaw over the years to ensure we had an informed Myanmar media voice in our programs when journalists inside the country were difficult or impossible to hear. We are grateful to The Irrawaddy for helping keep the world informed about Myanmar through the darkest days of attacks on media freedom and restrictions on the countryโ€™s journalists and news organizations.

Susan Kreifels
Journalism Program Manager, East-West Center

โ€˜๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ˆ๐ซ๐ซ๐š๐ฐ๐š๐๐๐ฒ ๐ฅ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ ๐ก๐ญ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐Œ๐ฒ๐š๐ง๐ฆ๐š๐ซโ€™๐ฌ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐ž๐ž๐๐จ๐ฆโ€™

Forged in fire and still burning bright, The Irrawaddy has been a standard bearer of independent journalism on Myanmar for the past 30 years. Few, if any, local news outfits have shone so much journalistic light onto so much darkness over the period. Iโ€™ve been privileged to know and consult The Irrawaddyโ€™s editors, reporters and staff on press freedom-related issues during my nearly two decades with CPJ. Those discussions have always been invaluable to my understanding of the difficulties and dangers Myanmarโ€™s journalists face in reporting the news. By challenging threats to their own reporters and reporting on those faced by others, The Irrawaddy lives the fight for Myanmarโ€™s press freedom. Itโ€™s why CPJ bestowed its 2014 International Press Freedom Award on founder and editor-in-chief Aung Zaw. And itโ€™s why I write herewith in praise of the publication on its 30th anniversary. Long live The Irrawaddy!

Shawn W. Crispin
Senior Southeast Asia Representative
Committee to Protect Journalists

โ€˜๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ˆ๐ซ๐ซ๐š๐ฐ๐š๐๐๐ฒ ๐ก๐š๐ฌ ๐›๐ž๐ž๐ง ๐ฌ๐จ ๐ข๐ฆ๐ฉ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ๐š๐ง๐ญ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฌ๐จ ๐ฆ๐š๐ง๐ฒ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฎ๐ฌโ€™

The Irrawaddy has been so important to so many of us through the years, a real life line in good times and in bad. And right now, you, and your brand of reliable information and analysis, have never been more important.

Christopher Gunness
Director, Myanmar Accountability Project
Former BBC journalist