Until recently a pariah state and the bête noire of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Myanmar is now poised to outshine the organization and its members if the liberalizing nation can steadily advance its reforms.
Since March 2011, when President Thein Sein’s reformist government was formed, Myanmar has witnessed a series of dramatic changes. One of these was the free and fair by-election in April, which resulted in pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy winning representation in parliament.
Another remarkable development was Myanmar’s decision in August to abolish media censorship. As Kyaw Zwa Moe, English editor of the Irrawaddy, a previously exiled news outlet long regarded as illegal by the military regime, wrote in an email interview, now “news journals and magazines can report almost whatever they want.”