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Asian crisis, transparency and the international media in Singapore

Rodan, G. (2000) Asian crisis, transparency and the international media in Singapore. The Pacific Review, 13 (2). pp. 217-242.

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The Asian economic crisis brought the institutional framework within which markets operate in this region under scrutiny. This gave rise to a broad consensus that both recovery and more sustainable markets require major governance reform, not the least being a shift towards more transparency. Adequate, timely and reliable information was portrayed as a major factor in the crisis, preventing informed investment decisions and contributing to a dramatic loss of business confidence. But what does this imply for authoritarian controls over the media? Are they a likely casualty as the objective needs of markets now assert themselves? In this study, we examine one of the most advanced economies in the region where transparency and media freedom have been markedly absent. Yet the city-state's policy-makers have responded to the crisis by forcefully promoting Singapore as an international finance centre - wherein a free flow of information is thought to be critical. The rhetoric of transparency, and even some reforms in that direction, has been adopted. However, neither a free media nor political openness is part of the government's agenda. To date, this selective approach certainly does not appear to have deterred investment. This not only suggests that the People's Action Party's brand of authoritarianism is durable, but that the institutional frameworks within which advanced capitalism can operate remain varied.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Asia Research Centre
Publisher: Routledge
Copyright: (c) 2000 Taylor & Francis Ltd
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