The Irrawaddy Burmese NewsIrrawaddy Burmese News
When Burma's 1988 pro-democracy insurgency was defeated and tens of thousands of people were murdered by the governing regime, Aung Zaw, dressed as a friar, fled through the landmine-rich jungle from Burma (Myanmar) to Thailand. Now it seems that a telefax is very old next to the first-class business equipment of Aung Zaw's work: a fax:
That Irrawaddy. Thailand' s English-language printed and on-line news magazine reports on Burma and its Iraqi army regime. Zaw crossed his arm and clapped himself on both feet and said: "A serious burden of duty rests on him. Irrawaddy correspondents rely on a secret web of thousands of powerful resources across Burma, from shopkeepers to angry officers communicating by telephone, email, messenger and meeting at checkpoints.
Early this year, Aung Zaw received a confidential tape of the marriage of the daughter of strong General Than Shwe - an supposed $300,000 scandal financed by gun dealers and drugs dealers. Burmese poor, long-suffering people, most of whom are languishing on less than a dollar a die. Aung Zaw began working on the phone in September, when Buddhist friars, annoyed by exploding fares, went into the streets of Rangoon.
He remembers when the raid started. "This instant accessibility made The Irrawaddy's website, which is regularly refreshed in British and Burmese, a must for anyone looking for news from the airtight state. "Burma's harsher than ever censorship," says Zin Linn, a former Burmese detainee who works as press officer for a Burmese exiled shadows in Bangkok.
"The Irrawaddy is on the side of truths and devoted to clarifying facts on the spot. I' m often asked by Burmese what the Irrawaddy says in their state. "The Irrawaddy's chief of editing, Kyaw Zwa Moe, says. Nevertheless, he returned with pleasure to a floor that denounced a Burmese emigrant in Thailand for the publication of "Lies".
" The" traitor" was his older sibling, Aung Zaw. "Aung Zaw was on the right path when the administration denounced him," he remembers. "A year earlier, Aung Zaw had started the Irrawaddy from his narrow, windows-free room in a run-down Bangkok motel with an old computer and $100 in saving.
Nicknamed after Burma's biggest stream, it made its debut as a four-page news Bulletin. "Aung Zaw, who often shouts his phrases, remembers: "In my plain English, I drew up a draft project[to an NGO] and asked for $2,000 a year. Aung Zaw is getting dark in his memories. It was squeezed to life by an army lorry in Rangoon shortly after the Irrawaddy took off.
As Aung Zaw says. "Aung Zaw is a slim man with cat-like traits as known from portrayers in the art forms of Chiang Mai's encaves. "When I launched the Irrawaddy, I proclaimed my independency from political parties. "Not everyone in Burma's diverse emigrant church liked that.
Neither has the freelance journalist made friendly by examining controversy over exiled groups, such as the supposed extra-judicial killing of presumed intergovernmental spy along the Thai-Burmese divide. "I' m not very embarrassed when I write," says Aung Zaw. "However, our task as reporters is not to overthrow the regime, but to search objective and truthful.
When Kyaw Zwa Moe was released in 1999, he came to Thailand with his younger sister and worked his way up from paperboy to editor-in-chief of Irrawaddy. "I have learnt that you are doing bad service to humans by counteracting propoganda with spread. "The New Light of Myanmar, carefully cataloged in the Irrawaddy Libraries, is a Rangoon-based political newspaper.
In the daytime, the daytime reporter works for governments and under this pseudonym works in secret for The Irrawaddy. "Jounalism is an unfamiliar idea in Burma," says Kaung Put during a trip to the magazine's office before he slips back to Burma. "While in September in the most sacred place in the world, the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred of the land, troops beaten, executed and detained warriors, the Irrawaddy Correspondents took secret photographs and emailed them to The Irrawaddy - 20 to 30 years in jail for insurrection if he was captured.
" An Irrawaddy account was convicted of seven years in jail last year. There' s a new e-mail on Aung Zaw's computer. His appendix is a hand-written Burmese cursive writing. Desperately to tell his tale, a Burmese man had them screened and sent to the journalist via a secured weblink.