laos_280One and a half years ago, the first private television channel in Laos was created: LaoStarTV. State-owned television had been the only ‘choice’ until this moment under the Lao government.

After many years of isolation under the repressive communist regime, Laos seems to be enjoying a period of expansion – stabilising its political structures, improving internal economic growth and opening its borders to tourism. And thanks to a dam currently being built in Laos, the country will become one of the most important producers of hydroelectric energy in South East Asia.

Although it’s too soon to say freedom of speech or a free media now prevails in the country, a first step has been taken. This movement is reflected in the scheduled programmes of the LaoStar channel: pop music videoclips (prohibited until the mid-’90s), celebrity gossip shows and, of course, reality tv.

Marco Gualazzini