This 10th Focus Asia event brings together leading media scholars from around the world who will discuss media in Asia and beyond. The media in Asia are a relatively new field of academic research and offers important new perspectives on central questions in the study of the media. But media developments in Asia are not only of academic interest as they are increasingly influencing both media consumption and public debate globally.
The relationship between media, democracy and the public sphere has been the subject of intensive debate for many years. Several of the lectures at this Focus Asia address different aspects of this relationship in different national and regional contexts. What are the relationships between political systems and media structures in different Asian societies? How are political transitions influenced by or represented in the media? What voices are heard in the Asian media and whom do they represent?
Whether new media such as the Internet will strengthen civil society and the public sphere is a hotly debated issue. The rapidly expanding use of the Internet and its impact for public debate and citizenship in societies as different as China and the Middle East is worth paying close attention to and comparing with developments in Europe. Yet it is important that we do not forget that television is still the media that reaches the largest and broadest group of people in many countries in Asia and that it therefore deserves continuing close scrutiny both to format and content.