Press freedom and development: An examination of models of the press in Cambodia

Judith L Clarke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


The question of how to organise the media in developing countries remains problematic. The “development communication” model of the 1960s was shown to encourage authoritarianism, the “New World Information Order” was never implemented, and the international influence of the Third World was very much diminished at the end of the Cold War. This left a vacuum of theory and analysis on the media in poor countries at the time Cambodia’s peace agreement was signed in 1991. The UN and the international community ensured a free press system was implemented there, but the old Soviet-style media system remained, giving the strongest party, the Cambodian People’s Party, de facto near-authoritarian control over nationwide television and much of radio, constraining broader freedoms to the press, which is far less widely available and more and more dominated by the CPP. Yet freedom of expression is more widespread than in many neighbouring countries. It is useful to look back at the early days of the media in Western countries or to Hallin and Mancini’s “polarised pluralist” model and not expect full-scale press freedom to emerge quickly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-22
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian Journalism Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication


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