Note to Readers: Changes to The Irrawaddy’s Editorial Style

Dear Readers,

You may notice that The Irrawaddy is making some style changes.

Here is why.

In 1989, the then military government made a unilateral decision to change the name of our country in English from Burma to Myanmar.

This decision was not accepted by many parts of our society, including those working for democracy such as The Irrawaddy, as it was made without consultation and without regard for the views of the population. We and many others therefore continued to use the name ‘Burma,’ and the international community largely did the same.

Nonetheless, over time the use and acceptance of the new name gradually increased, in large part because it is closer to the terminology commonly used for the country in the Burmese language. The increase in the use of ‘Myanmar’ gathered pace after the country started opening up in 2011.

In 2016, the country gained a new democratically-elected government. Under the National League for Democracy-led government, the official name of our country at home and abroad remains Myanmar.

Reflecting the changed political circumstances, The Irrawaddy will now use the name Myanmar, and it will also alter the use of a few other major place names in line with official use.

This will be an ongoing process, in which we will strive to strike the right balance between the use of names that are widely known and understood and names that reflect ethnic and local heritages, preferences and usage. We appreciate your understanding during this process which reflects the many complexities of our country’s politics and history.

We will continue to keep working hard to bring you news, analysis and multimedia that is accurate and impartial and in the tradition of The Irrawaddy’s more than two decades of independent reporting.

The Irrawaddy