Myanmar gov't orders magazine to change name to match junta-decreed official name of river

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Myanmar's former military government easily changed the name of the country's mightiest river, but a magazine ordered to make the same change is putting up a fight.

State-run newspapers published an Information Ministry announcement Tuesday telling the Irrawaddy Publishing Group that it must change the names of its two publications named after the Irrawaddy River to use the spelling "Ayeyawady."

That's what the former ruling junta renamed the river in 1989, when it also changed the country's name from Burma to Myanmar and the then-capital from Rangoon to Yangon. The announcement said use of the old spellings contravenes the "Adaption of Expression" law.

The Irrawaddy group's chief, Aung Zaw, called the order an attempt to stifle independent media, and said the magazines would continue to use the old spellings.