Irrawaddy Founder Among 2014 International Press Freedom Awardees

By The Irrawaddy 1 October 2014

Aung Zaw, the founding editor-in-chief of The Irrawaddy, is among four international journalists who are awarded the Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ)’s 2014 International Press Freedom Awards.

The award is an annual recognition of courageous reporting, and acknowledges the work of journalists who have faced imprisonment, violence, and censorship. This year’s other awardees are journalists from Iran, Russia and South Africa.

CPJ noted that The Irrawaddy, like other Burmese media, “still comes under pressure from the current Burmese government.”

CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said journalists across the world “are confronting record levels of violence and repression against journalists and, recently, vivid displays of brutality perpetrated against reporters covering the Syrian conflict.”

“The journalists that CPJ will honor with the International Press Freedom Award are undeterred and unbowed. They have risked all to bring us the news,” said Simon.

In March this year, Aung Zaw was also honored with the 2013 Shorenstein Journalism Award from Stanford University’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center. In 2010, he received the Netherlands-based Prince Claus Award for Journalism “for his active dedication to achieving democratic government in Burma.”

In 1988, Aung Zaw was a student activist who joined the massive democracy uprising in Rangoon. He was arrested on the Rangoon University campus during one of the student rallies and detained for a week. Shortly afterward, he fled to Thailand where he launched The Irrawaddy news magazine in 1993 to cover developments in Burma as it was sinking into international isolation and repression.

Today, The Irrawaddy reports from a local office in Rangoon, Burma’s commercial capital, and has an English- and Burmese-language daily news website with news, features, in-depth analysis, and interviews with experts from Burma, as well as articles by contributors from around the world. The Irrawaddy has two print publications: a monthly magazine in English and a Burmese-language weekly journal.