No light at the end of the tunnel

The ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) exercises absolute control over the media. The only time Laotians get to see a semblance of pluralism is when the national TV channels broadcast national assembly sessions, in which differences between the LPRP factions are sometimes expressed. Increasingly aware of the restrictions imposed on the official media, Laotians are turning to the Internet and social media. However, the use of online news and information platforms is held back by a 2014 decree under which Internet users who criticize the government and the Marxist-Leninist LPRP can be jailed. The same decree also forces Internet users to systematically identify themselves by the name they have registered with the authorities. As a result, Laos has only half a million Internet users, barely 10% of the population. A decree by the prime minister that took effect in January 2016 allows foreign media to set up office in Laos on condition that they submit their content to LPRP censorship. So, only the Chinese news agency Xinhua and the Vietnamese news agency Nhan Dan have opened bureaux in Vientiane. A blogosphere is slowly emerging even if comments on social media can lead to prosecution. A blogger was sentenced to five years in prison in December 2019 for trying to inform her fellow citizens about the situation resulting from the flooding in the south of the country

in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index



171 in 2019

Global score


64.49 in 2019

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2021
Go to the barometre