Authoritarian Regimes and the Media: How They Shape Perception and Support for Capital Punishment in ASEAN

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Book Chapter

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This chapter examines the ways by which authoritarianism and the media affect public perception and support for capital punishment in the ASEAN region by outlining and discussing its tenacious, oft perplexing, support there. Despite the worldwide trend towards the abolition of the death penalty, ASEAN Member-States still seemingly support retentionist principles and policies. This paper, however, illustrates that public support and political stances in its favour are, in reality, neither unconditional nor unnuanced. Drawing from past studies and considering current realities on the ground, this chapter investigates the complex interplay among the issues of capital punishment, authoritarianism, and the media. As observed in recent years, authoritarianism, in one form or another, has crept into the ASEAN region, stifling dissent and threatening the media—which may either be State-controlled or, at the very least, State-suppressed. Following an analysis of such interplay, this chapter then explores various alternatives for framing the capital punishment discourse with the ultimate goal of working against its retention and re-imposition in the long run.