- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: University of Washington Press; Revised edition (March 6, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 029598578X
- ISBN-13: 978-0295985787
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,644,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Contentious Journalism and the Internet: Towards Democratic Discourse in Malaysia and Singapore Paperback – March 6, 2006
"This is an erudite and, at times, witty summation of the decade-long efforts on the part of two Asian authoritarian governments to alternatively co-opt, rein in and control the new media. It also offers good discursive asides on democratic culture and media culture in general. . . . George's book will remain the standard on Singapore and Malaysia cyber media for some time."―Journal of Contemporary Asia
Provides detailed case studies of online alternative media sites in Singapore and Malaysia, and examines arguments that explain their development in terms of technology and of differing norms of journalism and democracy.
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Perhaps the most interesting element of "Contentious Journalism and the Internet" is the dichotomy that allows each of these websites to exist in societies where political forces have a vested interest in shutting down free speech and ample power to exercise that option. Cherian George notes how the huge economic potential of the Internet has driven both countries (perhaps grudgingly) towards increasing levels of press freedom. In an attempt to woo companies to the area, both have made huge investments in technology infrastructure which has created the physical framework for unprecedented communication. The author posits that the subsequent success in attracting global companies has resulted in a risk versus reward choice for the two states, whose economic fates are now closely tied to their ability to provide access to open networks. Both governments have opted to relinquish some control over their press in order to open their doors to businesses that rely heavily on the information superhighway.
George's evaluation of the intersection of technology, journalism and government is helpful in understanding how the societies in Singapore and Malaysia have developed in response to becoming part of a larger global economy, and how those societies may continue to evolve going forward. George's analysis suggests that the greater freedom of press enabled by the Internet will create an unprecedented level of public discourse in Singapore and Malaysia that increasingly engages global participants, rather than simply the one dimensional message of those in power. It seems likely that, as external business interests and other global constituencies begin to influence public policy in the region, internal controls will correspondingly loosen to allow more divergent opinions to be expressed without fear of government reprisal.