Media in the Lao PDR: Post Chintanakane Mai Challenges
Viengsay S. Luangkhot

Lao Service

Radio Free Asia
Washington, D.C.


A communist one-party state since 1975, the Lao PDR does not tolerate any dissension. It views the media as a tool for the Lao communist party, with four main objectives:

1. Disseminate the policies of the party/state
2. Reform people’s minds, and old policies
3. Fight the enemies’ “propaganda”
4. Attack the opposition.

In 1986, when then president Kaysone Phomvihane adopted the “Chintanakane Mai” or the theory of economic liberalization, the Lao PDR faced new challenges: How to open the country to market economy, while maintaining the lid on the socio-political aspects.

The challenge has increased in intensity during recent years, as the Lao PDR plays a more active role in the regional scene, and depends heavily on international assistance for its development.