Journalism and Authoritarian Resilience
This chapter focuses on the resilience of authoritarianism and its implications for journalism studies. It provides an overview of research on journalism in authoritarian contexts and highlights some of the directions that the research is pressing towards. The term differential censorship is used to capture another self-interested and rational adaptation by authoritarian regimes to the practical costs of unrestrained and unlimited suppression of speech. The chapter explores the concepts of calibrated coercion and differential censorship, which help explain how authoritarian regimes have been able to have their cake and eat it too, so to speak: securing surprisingly high levels of domestic legitimacy despite monopolizing power. Differential censorship is intended to make authoritarian regimes suppler and thus more stable, but it always carries risks for the regime. The challenge in journalism research is to treat authoritarian regimes as being as worthy of in-depth and nuanced study as democratic systems.