A study of the Development of Satellite Broadcasting and Government Control: The Case of East and Southeast Asia


Judith Clarke – Yu Huang


It has been argued that transnational satellite television will have a democratizing effect on the media and on whole societies. This paper critiques that view, using systematic data collection to show that, while there has been a huge broadening of programming that was initially a threat to authority, governments of East and Southeast Asia quickly found ways to assert control over content. They were able to do this because they could deliver paying audiences when broadcasters were ampered by competition, technical constraints on direct-to-home broadcasting and problems in harvesting revenue. The result is a government-business-broadcaster alliance that will ensure that the medium’s development remains in the interests of this group.