Challenged by the state and the Internet: Struggles for professionalism in Southeast Asian journalism
AbstractAs in other regions, journalism in Southeast Asia is under pressure. Journalists in many of the region’s emerging markets have to develop their profession while struggling with changing market conditions, increasingly more demanding audiences, different degrees of authoritative states and growing competition from the Internet. Based on qualitative interviews and drawing on a combination of role theory and Pierre Bourdieu’s field theory, this article compares the role performances of journalists in Singapore and Vietnam by looking into the different expectations journalists in the two countries meet. The article illustrates how journalists continue to feel most conflicted about conforming with the states’ expectations to their profession. However, online actors imposing on the journalistic field are beginning to have a progressively bigger impact. Though they push the boundaries and set the media agenda, journalists fear they are changing the journalistic habitus, devaluing the journalistic capital and eroding years’ worth of professionalization progress.
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