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Media Freedom and Socio-Political Instability

Pal Sudeshna ()
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Pal Sudeshna: Georgia College and State University

Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, 2011, vol. 17, issue 1, 1-23

Abstract: Free media may reduce incidents of socio-political instability. Different types of socio-political instability have been shown to have a negative effect on investment and economic growth. This study examines the effect of free media on various indicators of socio-political instability. Using a panel of 98 countries over 1994-2005, this study shows that media free from government control and interference may decrease different forms of socio-political instability because it puts internal and external pressure on self-interested governments to act in the best interests of citizens—rather than their own. The empirical results suggest that a freer media is associated with lower levels of socio-political instability as measured by ethnic tensions, external and internal conflicts, crime and disorder, military participation in government and religious tensions. The estimates are robust to several sensitivity tests.

Date: 2011
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