NLD Publication Hit by Financial Woes After $185K Goes Missing

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 11 September 2013

RANGOON — D Wave, the widely-read newsletter of the National League for Democracy, has run into financial problems after US$185,000 went missing from its books, a member of Burma’s main opposition party said on Wednesday.

Nyan Win, a member of the NLD’s Central Executive Committee (CEC), explained that the party publication was faced with an income shortfall of about $185,000 because sales revenues of tens of thousands of distributed copies of the newsletter had gone missing.

“We are now looking at some responsible people at D Wave in relation with this debt issue. The main responsible person [for this problem] is the manager,” he told The Irrawaddy. Nyan Win declined to identify D Wave’s manager.

The NLD’s weekly newsletter first appeared on Jan. 16, 2012, when it went on sale for about $0.30. The publication has since become highly popular with the Burmese public, and some media experts estimate that D Wave has a weekly circulation of more than 100,000 copies.

D Wave’s current financial woes were first reported by local media The Myanmar Post and Daily Eleven, who alleged that NLD chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi had instructed CEC members to suppress the news of D Wave’s financial losses.

Nyan Win denied these reports, saying, “I can definitely say there were no remarks by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on this D Wave case in the meeting, I was there. But certainly we’re going to thoroughly check this case.”

D Wave editor-in-chief and NLD lawmaker Ohn Kyaing could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Monywar Aung Shin, a member of D Wave’s editorial team, said the team had not been informed about the details of the financial problems.

“We are just only doing our editorial work. The main responsible person [for financial matters] is the manager,” he said, without naming the manager. He added, “We’re not stopping this newsletter, operations are still ongoing despite this issue.”

NLD founder, former journalist and D Wave contributor Win Tin said he could not comment on the financial problems at the organization as he was unaware of the issue. “I have no idea what is happening there now,” he said.

D Wave contents include updates on NLD party activities and announcements, opinion piece and political analyses, and a weekly column by NLD chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi, whose picture always adorns the newsletter’s cover.

The party has plans to turn the newsletter into a commercial weekly news journal, while Suu Kyi also filed an application for a daily news publication license for D Wave with the Ministry of Information in March.

Monywar Aung Shin said, “We’re expecting to publish D Wave as a commercial weekly newspaper at the end of this year as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi encouraged us to do so.”

He said the NLD leader believes that it would be better if D Wave became more independent from the party and generates its own income from advertisements.