These are interesting times for Myanmar as it pursues reforms in order to become a modern democratic state. It is a difficult transition for a country which has been under military rule for the past five decades but the international community should continue to press for reform.
Will there be clean and fair elections in November? Will the military-backed government continue to welcome foreign investment? What is the plan to achieve unity and peace amid ethnic and religious conflicts?
To improve our coverage of what’s happening in Myanmar today, Global Voices has partnered with The Irrawaddy, a leading media organization in the country which delivers alternative news.
The Irrawaddy magazine was the first independent news publication unaffiliated with Burmese political dissident groups. Because of its critical reports, it was banned by the military regime in Myanmar and anyone found with a copy could be arrested and imprisoned.
In 2000, The Irrawaddy website was launched and was promptly blocked in Myanmar remaining inaccessible in the country for the next 11 years. When media restrictions were eased in 2011, The Irrawaddy was finally made available to Myanmar Internet users. Meanwhile, the print magazine was finally distributed legally across the country in 2013.
Since its founding, The Irrawaddy has committed to provide the public with alternative news as part of its democratic positioning. It believes a free press is essential to a democracy:
We have a strong belief in democracy, and believe that without free media a democratic society is incomplete. It is our duty to protect and preserve press freedom and develop independent media free from bias and influences.
On the part of Global Voices, we are happy to undertake this partnership as we seek to provide our readers with better and more inspiring stories from Myanmar.