Known as the Jewel of the Mekong, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), or Laos, sits in the middle of five neighboring countries, namely, Myanmar and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the southwest, and Thailand to the west and southwest. The small country of 236,800 square kilometers, with mountainous areas and wide and long rivers, is home to 6.6 million Laotians, consisting of 49 ethnicities that are divided into four groups: Lao Tai, Mone Khmer, Tibeto Chinese, and Hmong Loumien. Lao’s original name is Lane Xang, the land of a million elephants.

Although the government monitors media content in Laos and owns all newspapers and broadcast media, Laotians enjoy uncensored access to Internet websites and are increasingly making use of social media. ...

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