Freedom from the press: Journalism and state power in Singapore

Cherian George*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBook or reportpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The city-state of Singapore has, for decades, been an international anomaly, combining an advanced and open economy with reduced civil liberties and press freedom. This book analyses the country's media system, showing how ithas been structured - like the rest of the political framework - to provide maximum freedom of manoeuvre for the People's Action Party (PAP) government. Going beyond critique, the author explains how the PAP's "freedom form the press" model has achieved its extraordinary resilience and stability. One key factor was the PAP's early recognition that capitalism and the profit motive could be harnessed as a way to tame journalism. Second, the PAP exercised strategic self-restraint in the use of force, progressively turning to subtler means of control that are less prone to backfire on the state. Third, unlike many authoritarian regimes, the PAP remained open to ideas and change, even as it insulated itself from political competition. These strategies, while subject to strain and failure, have helped the PAP consolidate its authoritarian form of electoral democracy. Freedom form the Press is essential reading for those who are interested in Singapore's media and political system. Singapore's unique place on the world map of press freedom and democracy makes the book an important contribution to the comparative study of journalism and politics.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherNUS Press
Number of pages272
ISBN (Print)9789971695941
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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