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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 5, 2011

Media Freedom and Socio-Political Instability

Sudeshna Pal

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.

Published Online: 2011-3-5

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