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    The Birth of Vietnamese Political Journalism

    By: Philippe M. F. Peycam

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    "Peycam looks at how the journalism that came out of colonial Saigon became a powerful tool for political activism, and a vehicle for mobilizing and unleashing popular forces. The manuscript covers the evolution of Vietnamese journalism in colonial Saigon from its inception (before 1916) to its transformation beginning in 1930, with the impact of the Great Depression on the one hand and the onset of mass protest movements on the other. Inspired by Habermas, the author argues that what contemporary Vietnamese called the "newspaper village" journalism created an unprecedented public sphere in which all sorts of issues could be and were debated. He also traces its gradual shift from a forum for advocacy and debate to a vehicle for popular mobilization, as many of those who became journalists saw newspapers more as vehicles for the expression of opinions than for the dissemination of information. By looking at the links between colonial capitalism and new possibilities for self-expression and nationalism, Peycam illuminates the role of the colonial state in setting the parameters for journalistic activities, subsidizing those it wished to use as its propaganda instrument and fighting those it deemed inimical to its interests."--Publisher's description.

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