Chapter 2 begins the empirical sections of the book with a historical analysis that demonstrates how talk radio has taken up varying characteristics and significance in the changing social and political contexts. Emphasizing the “multilevel interactions” between the media and its environment, the chapter shows that talk radio began as a channel for citizen-official communication in the late 1960s in Hong Kong. It was transformed into a platform for public discussion in the 1980s, and then became a critical watchdog in the 1990s and early 2000s. In most recent years, talk radio has become a channel for citizen-official communication again, with a new emphasis on the accountability performance by political leaders.
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