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FOCUS March 2018 Volume 91

Government and the Media


Governments see the necessity of laws that regulate the media, including having the authority to suspend the operations of media establishments. Online media, and the pervasive use of the internet, make some governments even more sensitive due to the speed and spread of information dissemination.

Media advocates see these legal measures as violating human rights, especially the right to freedom of expression and opinion.

While threat to national security is real, laws on media with punitive provisions create an environment that allows control or even suppression of legitimate exercise of this right. 

In extreme cases, journalists, bloggers and social media practitioners in Asia who are being arrested and jailed based on these media laws are reporting or giving information on issues that are important to the people – from corruption to abuse of power by government officials, to displacement of communities and destruction of livelihood and natural resources by business entities.

Controlling people’s access to the media (in print, broadcast or digital formats) and their right to express their opinion does not make the society safer.