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Media systems depend strongly on their political, economic, and legal environments. However, it is increasingly argued that media systems will assimilate in the course of globalisation, making a comparison based on nation-states redundant (Blum 2005: 5). Comparisons of European media systems showed that media systems develop similarly in the same regions (Hallin and Mancini 2004). On the basis of a comparison between Japan, South Korea, and the People’s Republic of China, this paper deals with the question whether this also applies to the region of East Asia. Due to the strong dependence of East Asia’s media systems on their political environment, a nationstate based comparison is still reasonable in this region. Roger Blum’s ‘extended comparison approach’ is used as a theoretical and methodological foundation for this research. This approach allows establishing a connection between political systems and media systems. It will be shown that the media systems of China, Japan, and South Korea are first and foremost dependent on the political framework within which they operate. Regional similarities exist despite different political systems, but they do so mainly on the surface. On closer examination differences prevail.
Stephan Si-Hwan Park
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