This book analyzes the constraints on press freedom and the ways in which independent reporting and reporters are at risk in contemporary Asia to provide a barometer of democratic development in the region.

Based on in-depth country case studies written by academics and journalists, and some who straddle both professions, from across the region, this book explores the roles of mainstream and online media, and how they are subject to abuse by the state and vested interests. Specific country chapters provide up-to-date information on Bangladesh, Kashmir, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as on growing populist and nationalist challenges to media freedom in the Philippines, India, Indonesia and Japan. The book includes a theoretical chapter pulling together trends and common constraints facing newsrooms across Asia and a regional overview on the impact of social media. Three chapters on China provide insights into the country’s tightening information environment under President Xi Jinping. Moreover, the legal environment of the media, political and external pressures, economic considerations, audience support and journalists’ standards and ethics are explored.

As an international and interdisciplinary study, this book will appeal to undergraduates, graduates and scholars engaged in human rights, media studies, democratization, authoritarianism and Asian Studies, as well as Asia specialists, journalists, legal scholars, historians and political scientists.

chapter 1|10 pages


chapter 2|19 pages

Theorizing Media Freedom in Asia

part 1|114 pages

East Asia

chapter 3|18 pages

Social Media with Chinese Characteristics

Implications for press freedom

chapter 4|17 pages

Borrowing, Buying and Building Boats

How China exerts its influence over the press in Asia

chapter 6|16 pages

Japan’s Activist News Media

How and why reporters and news organizations became a positive force in confronting a negative past

chapter 7|15 pages

Fortress Okinawa

Japan’s media and the US military footprint

chapter 8|15 pages

Press Freedom in South Korea

chapter 9|16 pages

External Threat and Internal Defence

Freedom of the press in Taiwan, 2008–2018 1

part 2|116 pages

Southeast Asia

chapter 10|15 pages

The Indonesian Press

Between the state, market, politics and society

chapter 11|15 pages

Press Freedom in Malaysia

An awakening for the media?

chapter 12|22 pages

Media Freedom in Myanmar

One step forward, two steps back

chapter 13|15 pages

Press Repression in Myanmar

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Reuters reporters and the Rohingya

chapter 16|16 pages

Vietnamese Media Going Social

Connectivism, collectivism and conservatism

part 3|98 pages

South Asia

chapter 17|18 pages

Press Freedom in Bangladesh

How to kill the Fourth Estate in 48 years or less

chapter 18|15 pages

Killing Press Freedom in India

chapter 19|15 pages

Muzzling the Press

Military control and journalism in Jammu and Kashmir

chapter 21|17 pages

Pakistani Media under Siege

chapter 22|17 pages

Free and Fair Media

A distant dream for Sri Lanka

part 4|26 pages

Internet freedom

chapter 23|24 pages

The Polemics of Internet Freedom in Asia

Reality, perception and attitudes