The continuing economic and political transformation of Asian countries has been inexorable since the mid-1980s. John A. Lent, a long-time Asian media observer, stated: “Today, Asians are generally more politically vigilant and less apt to tolerate strongman rule than before.”1 A good illustration of democratic transitions in Asia is the expansion of political rights and civil liberties. Freedom of the press has continually increased in many parts of Asia. Freedom House’s survey of press freedom reported in 2003: “The Asia Pacific region … exhibited a relatively high level of press freedom, with 18 countries (46 percent) rated Free, 7 (18 percent) rated Partly Free, and 14 (36 percent) rated Not Free.”2 Now, some are concerned about press irresponsibility rather than the lack of press freedom: “Media freedom is available to more people in Asia today than 15 years ago, and media responsibility and ethics have become a big concern in new democracies.”3
Recommended CitationYoum, K. H., Legal research in Asian mass media: An overview of its substance and procedure, Asia Pacific Media Educator, 15, 2004, 1-16.