This a blog of Cherian George, editor of the journal, Media Asia. The articles here focus on media freedom and related issues in Asia. The Resources page contains a list of links that researchers and students should find helpful. For information on how to contribute to the academic journal, Media Asia, please visit the journal’s site.
“The People’s Action Party (PAP) government does not filter or block as a means of restricting political expression, but it does make use of sedition, defamation, and contempt of court laws to manage dissent. Officials initiated legal action against at least three bloggers during the coverage period. Based on a history of punitive charges under broadly worded legislation, most established blogs and news websites exercise a level of self-censorship, which varies based on their appetite for risk.
This self-censorship coexists with an unceasing flow of antigovernment comments online. The vigorous use of the internet by individuals and groups opposed to PAP dominance was cited as a key factor behind the ruling party’s setbacks in the 2011 general election. Ahead of the next election, expected in 2016, the government is exhibiting greater sensitivity towards online dissent. While its interventions are not severe enough to neutralize the internet’s importance as a space for alternative and more authentic voices, it may succeed in slowing down the growth of independent news sites and in discouraging more organized activism.
In particular, officials appear to be trying to forestall any emergence of professionally-run, independent online news organizations with substantial reach, as has happened across the border in Malaysia.”