Laos is a southeast Asian country and has experienced huge ups and downs since its inception. Earlier, it was known as the Million Elephants Kingdom. This is a communist country now and follows some strict measures about media operation. Media in Laos enjoys less freedom than the neighboring countries. In fact, media restriction is going on in the country since the communist party came to power in 1975. The media in the country is struggling hard to get rid of the situations.
Moreover, the media is strictly controlled by the government. Almost all the media in the country are state-owned. Even some of the journalists are also the members of the parties that form the government. Hence, this is a bit troublesome issue to get authentic news and information.
The constitution of the state has ensured the freedom of speech for its citizens but it also clears the authority on the media. The constitution indicates that detrimental mass media activities are prohibited for national interests. So, the number of offensive news is almost zero in Laos media. Besides, there are punishment provisions about such issues. If someone is found guilty of such press rules violations, they are punished with imprisonment of different terms. But according to a law of the country, the media activists will have access to the government information in case of necessity.
Laos has around 24 regular newspapers. They come in printed copy. Most of the news and necessary information is collected from, Khaosan Pathet Lao – also known as the KPL, the official news agency of the country. All the other media outlets also collect their necessary news and materials from KPL. Some of the newspapers are under strict control of the information ministry of the country. Besides, the newspapers are published in different languages including two foreign languages. Laos has only a single newspaper in English language. Further, some of the newspapers directly reflect the government policy.
Controversial issues are not published in newspapers and the relevant authority takes special care on the issues. But there are some flexibilities for privately-owned magazines. They can publish contents without prior government approval.
The number of broadcast media or television is about 32. Among the television channels, two of them are state-owned. The state-run channels do not broadcast any English programs at al. The cable TV service is also rising in the country and the users are to pay a subscription fee for the service. As a result, the citizens of the country can enjoy more 30 foreign television channels from Laos.
Laos has 44 radio stations altogether including the AM and FM radio stations. The national radio station is the most important media outlet and covers a wide number of audiences. They broadcast different types of news and events. But they never broadcast any news that might have negative impacts on the country.
The number of internet users is limited in the country. Therefore, the operation of online newspaper and news agencies is not so much visible.