A True Story Behind Danish Embassy and The Irrawaddy

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Danish embassy's letter to Irrawaddy is rude and undiplomatic. So editors and senior management here want the embassy to say sorry and apology. Meanwhile they are trying to reach senior officials at foreign ministry and the press in Denmark to expose the story.

But insiders say that there are untold stories behind Danish embassy officials' letter against The Irrawaddy. According to them, some Europeans donors are unhappy with The Irrawaddy's coverage on upcoming election in Burma, Rangoon-based NGO Myanmar Egress and European Commission delegation in Thailand. So the Danish embassy's letter now damaged the reputation of Irrawaddy -- is it an attempt to bring down Irrawaddy? The letter was sent to all donors....

An insider revealed that senior editors of The Irrawaddy come under pressure from those donors. Those donors have been trying to influence Irrawaddy's editorial policy, even threatening to withdraw their financial supports in the future. To Myanmar Egress case, they reportedly believed that Egress people are doing great and taking great risk to build up civil society in Burma.

“Great risk?” asked one senior reporter in Rangoon, “What risk are you talking about?” “They can hide behind Gen Shwe Mann and Htay Oo whenever they want.” He is right. Egress people are producing simple lies to naïve international donors. Everyone knows they have never been taken “great risks” like Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Zargana and all Buddhist monks and nuns in notorious Burmese prisons.

Senior editors at The Irrawaddy also revealed the poor communication between Danish embassy officials and them on self-sufficiency issue. The editors pointed out that exiled media all over the world are not self-sufficient, so they all rely on donors and outside support. They said that the recent exiled media forum in Chiang Mai, editors and managers from all over the world including North Korea, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Burma and South Africa have discussed the issue of their survival and came to conclusion that there is no business model yet to survive but rely on donors.

Irrawaddy has no choice except strongly defending their editorial independence.

At the same time, senior management team are joking among themselves whether they have to do gun running, opium trading or opening porn shop to generate income aside from good standard of journalism. Aung Zaw proposed to rob the bank—that shocked everyone at the office!

Reporters here are now saying, “This is crucial time to work as near the Nov 7 elections. But we have to put up with crap !!!!

Yangonthar Tar Tay


  1. Anonymous said... :

    what do donors know? do they know Burma's politics? do they know who is who?
    they just know their "projects." they never talked to right representatives of people on the ground. they've just talked to a group of people - any groups like Egrass or something like that - who can help their "projects".

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