Drawing: Thierry Le
Gathered from visits to well over 3000 websites, this compilation of Internet sources on regional and local news, media watchdogs, NGOs, environment, history, and cinema is more extensive than our published print version, yet still doesn't claim to be comprehensive.
But it does indicate the amazing and rapidly increasing variety of alternatives that exist to the mainstream media in (and on) Asia, even in predominantly English-language sites. In addition to 'homegrown' Asian sites we have included many originating outside Asia that are also valuable resources.
In Asia, public questioning of the status quo is widely stifled by conservatism (either via direct censorship or "self-censorship"). The Internet's subversive potential — to inform, deconstruct, contextualize, reconceptualize, inspire, and promote renewed awareness (and connectedness) — matches precisely the aspirations of committed journalism, and is fueling movements that are redefining political landscapes across the region. Not surprisingly, some of the countries with the most vigorous Internet alternative news networks (at least in English) are those that suppress their mainstream media, with the notable exception of China. In Malaysia, for example, the proliferation of reformasi sites supporting ousted Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, given their context, is little short of miraculous, and merits special attention.
Beyond the ferment of news related to political reform, Asian human rights campaigners, environmental activists, and other trenchant social critics are making using the immediacy of the Internet to spread information, organise, protest, create critical mass, and give voices to those who have been too long ignored. If more than fifty percent of Asia's population has never yet used a telephone, well, these are early days yet. The Internet bundles all previous media innovations — and contradictions — into one explosive package. Newspapers have been instrumental in promoting democratization, yet radio was a perfect carrier for Fascism; television gave us global vision — and global consumerism. If, as predicted, 500 million Asians are online by 2010, they should be able to access (and express!) an inconceivable diversity of points of view. Maybe we don't have a name yet for the kind of world the Internet is facilitating, but Asia will be a major part of it.
Asia Online is an on-going project. If you know of any good sites that we haven't yet listed, please e-mail us their URLs and we'll credit you as contributor!
Media Watchdogs — focusing on ethics within the media, and beyond
Pan-Asian Sources — broad coverage of Asia by media and NGOs
Asian Cinema — some choice sites on one of Asia's obsessions
Asian History — old news via new media
Local Asia Online:
Notable websites from the following countries
Bangladesh | Burma | Cambodia | China | India | Indonesia | Japan | Korea | Laos | Malaysia | Mongolia | Nepal | Pakistan | Singapore | Sri Lanka | Taiwan | Thailand | The Philippines | Tibet | Timor | Vietnam
Media on Asia Virtual Bookzine
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