This book offers a political economy analysis of the development and degradation of freedom of the press in Taiwan since 1949, exploring how state-business elites and foreign hegemons interacted to shape the evolution of Taiwan’s media.
It examines why freedoms increased alongside democratization in the 1990s but deteriorated after the second peaceful turnover of power in 2008 and why significant improvements accompanied Taiwan’s close economic connections with the US during the Cold War, only to become eroded as the country developed deeper economic ties with China in the 21st century. Presenting both a domestic and international perspective, this study of the controversial case of Taiwan ultimately argues in favor of three factors. First, state power is not the only threat to press freedom, as corporate organizations and market forces may also play a role in curtailing it. Second, cross-national economic connections do not always improve human and civil rights but may cause damage when they involve more powerful authoritarian countries. Third, just as norms diffuse from liberal contexts to repressive states, repressive norms are also likely to diffuse from powerful authoritarian countries to more liberal but politically and economically weaker ones.
Providing a new viewpoint on China’s media control overseas, The Political Economy of Press Freedom will be useful for students and scholars of Chinese Studies and Taiwan Studies as well as comparative politics, international relations and Media Studies.
Table of Contents
2. The Cold War and the Authoritarian Control over the Media, 1949-1988
3. Neoliberalism and the Marketization of the Media, 1988-2008
4. China’s Economic Rise and its Influence on Taiwan’s Media, 2008-2016
Jaw-Nian Huang is Assistant Professor of Development Studies at National Chengchi University in Taiwan. He is also an inaugural Hou Family Fellow at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University and a research team member for China Impact Studies at the Institute of Sociology at Academia Sinica in Taiwan.