The ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) keeps a strict hold on the media, with the government owning most of the mainstream outlets, including the national TV and radio networks.
“Laos is a ‘black hole’ from which little news emerges,” says Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The law allows foreign media to set up bureaus only on condition that they submit their output for review by officials.
The government considers natural disasters and major investment projects with countries like Thailand, Vietnam and China as “taboo” subjects for the media, says the Southeast Asian Press Alliance, a press freedom NGO.
Privately-owned, entertainment-based magazines which avoid political coverage have emerged in recent years, says US-based NGO Freedom House.
Freedom House says the government monitors social media usage and courts have handed out heavy sentences “for content and images that portray Laos negatively”.
There were 4.2 million internet users by July 2022, comprising 57% of the population (Internetworldstats.com). Most online activity is conducted using smartphones.
Media guides by BBC Monitoring
- Vientiane Times – state-run, English-language
- Le Renovateur – state run, French-language
- Vientiane Mai – state-run daily
- Pasaxon – party monthly
- Laotian Times – news website, in English
- Lao National TV – state-owned, operates TV1, TV3, provincial stations
- Lao Star – commercial, state-owned
- Lao Public Security TV (Lao PSTV) – state-owned
- Lao National Radio (LNR) – state-run
- Lao People’s Army Broadcasting – military
- KPL – Lao News Agency, state-run