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OSC Media Aid: Lao Media at a Glance
SEF20090106463001 Laos — OSC Media Aid in English 06 Jan 09
The government or institutions close to the ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party control all media in this mostly rural country. Poor infrastructure and poverty limit public access to broadcast and, especially, print media.
According to the ASEAN Mass Communication Studies and Research Center (utcc2.utcc.ac.th), the following statistics are true of Laos’s 5.3 million people:
- About 59% have access to radio.
- About 31% live in reach of television signals.
- Few read newspapers.
Laos has 31 state-run radio stations and one national television network with 16 stations. Lao broadcasters compete with more developed Thailand, whose stations can reach all of Laos (“Laos to Modernize its Media,” www.voanews.com). Newspaper and magazine circulation is limited. Many of the rural areas, where 85% of Laotians live (Lao News Agency, www.kpl.net.la), are not easily accessible by road, and a relatively low literacy rate of 68.7% (World Factbook) also limits readership.
The following are the leading Lao-language dailies, according to the ASEAN Mass Communication Studies and Research Center:
- Pasason, owned by the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, with a circulation of more than 7,000 copies.
- Vientiane Mai, owned by Vientiane Municipality, with a circulation of more than 3,700 copies.
- Pathet Lao, owned by the Ministry of Information and Culture, with a circulation of 2,000 copies.
Laos had 100,000 Internet users as of March 2008, according to International Telecommunication Union figures cited by Internetworldstats.com.