For several decades, the city-state of Singapore has been an international anomaly, combining an advanced, open economy with restrictions on civil liberties and press freedom. Freedom from the Press analyses the republic's media system, showing how it has been structured - like the rest of the political framework - to provide maximum freedom of manoeuvre for the People's Action Party (PAP) government. Cherian George assessed why the PAP's "freedom from the press" model has lasted longer than many other authoritarian systems. He suggests that one key factor has been the PAP's recognition that market forces could be harnessed as a way to tame journalism. Another counter-intuitive strategy is its self-restraint in the use of force, progressively turning to subtler means of control that are less prone to backfire. The PAP has also remained open to internal reform, even as it tries to insulate itself from political competition. Thus, although increasingly challenged by dissenting views disseminated through the internet, the PAP has so far managed to consolidate its soft-authoritarian, hegemonic form of electoral democracy. Given Singapore's unique place on the world map of press freedom and democracy, this book not only provides a constructive engagement with ongoing debates about the city-state but also makes a significant contribution to the comparative study of journalism and politics.

 

 

Freedom From the Press / by Cherian George

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