The Role of Media in the Repression-Protest Nexus: A Game-theoretic Model

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Kim, Heemin; Whitten-Woodring, Jenifer; James, Patrick
Issue Date
Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol.59 No.6, pp.1017-1042
mediagame theoryrepressiondemocracy
While the outcomes of the wave of pro-democracy uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa remain uncertain, it is clear that media played an important role in facilitating these protest movements. Yet, the nature of this role remains contested. The idealized function of independent media is that they serve as “watchdogs,” keeping government honest and watching out for the interests of citizens. It follows then that independent media should collectively keep the government responsive and responsible, especially in regards to how it treats citizens. Indeed, human rights nongovernmental organizations have argued that media freedom will help to improve government respect for human rights. This makes sense intuitively, yet recent formal and empirical studies show that the effect of independent media varies across regime types. We explore the relationship among media, government and citizen protest movements employing a game theoretic model and investigate how the equilibria vary depending on regime type and media independence. In our model, media watchdogging is most active in autocracies (and not in democracies), especially when the government’s perceived capability to repress public protest is declining.
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College of Education (사범대학)Dept. of Social Studies Education (사회교육과)Journal Papers (저널논문_사회교육과)
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