…the use of pseudonyms can pose problems. Given the dearth of reliable information about developments in Burma, it is often necessary to know who is speaking in order to make informed judgements about the reliability of their sources and the value of their analysis.

Also, if an author’s identity is concealed it can be difficult to take into account any possible political bias or personal agenda. In the highly charged atmosphere that characterises the public debate on Burma, this is an important consideration. Even the military government has published propaganda and disinformation under pseudonyms.

Another problem is that, hiding behind false names, some activists have launched ad hominem attacks against scholars and commentators who have expressed unfashionable views about Burma or advocated unpopular policy positions. Not knowing the identity of their accusers, the targets of these attacks have found it difficult to defend themselves.

– Extracted from Andrew Selth, “Burma and the politics of names”, The Interpreter, 12 July 2010.