Interviews | Politics | Southeast Asia

Myanmar: Elections and the Media

The editor of The Irrawaddy shares his thoughts on the implications of the recent elections.

Kyaw Zwa Moe
Kyaw Zwa Moe

Editor of the English-language edition of The Irrawaddy.

Myanmar has come a long way in five years, from rule by a military junta to the election of a civilian government to be led by the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party of Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. Why did voters overwhelmingly vote against the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which is led by former high-ranking military generals, even though, as they claim in the election campaign, they introduced democracy? Will Suu Kyi’s party be able to bring change? The extremist Buddhist group, known as “Ma Ba Tha,” campaigned for the USDP, so is there a nexus between this Southeast Asian country’s powerful military and intolerant monks? And is there press freedom in the country? The Diplomat put these questions to Kyaw Zwa Moe, editor of the English-language edition of The Irrawaddy magazine, a publication run by exiled Burmese journalists in Thailand which returned with a bureau in Yangon two years after Myanmar’s military announced reforms in 2010.