Asia Pacific Media Educator


Coronel, Sheila (2001)
The Right to Know: Access to Information in Southeast Asia,
Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Quezon City,
Philippines. ISBN 971-8686-34-7. 270pp.

Reviewed by Robin Ramcharan

This work examines the laws that guarantee or restrict access to information, the media and the political or social environments in which information is provided in the region’s “democracies” (Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand), “semi-democracies” (Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore) and “non-democracies” (Burma, Vietnam). As Sheila Coronel notes in her introductory survey, despite liberalised information flows in the democracies, “Southeast Asia’s democracies are still elitist and slow to respond to demands for social justice and equity”; in the semi-democracies “information is curtailed and people are kept ignorant”; and in the non-democracies people are virtually “kept in the dark”.