Events

Challenging official propaganda? Public opinion leaders on Sina Weibo

28 March, 2014
3:00pm - 4:30pm

S226 Seminar Room, Department of Media and Communications, University of Sydney
John Woolley Building Level 2, entry off Manning Rd

 

Media@Sydney presents

Challenging official propaganda? Public opinion leaders on Sina Weibo

Joyce Y.M. Nip


This study seeks to understand the implications of the Internet on freedom of information and opinion in China by studying the mechanism of formation of public opinion in a series of corruption cases exposed after the Chinese Communist Party's 18th Congress in 2012.

Focusing on Sina Weibo, the study examines the prominence of various users as public opinion leaders in these corruption cases. The research found that ordinary citizens made the largest category that initiated the cases, whereas news organizations and online media were the main actors that set the agenda of and disseminated information about corruption. Reading the messages found that news organizations and online media mainly published similar content to that of official agencies, suggesting that the commonly-held view that the party-state has little influence on Weibo needs revisiting.

Among the most eye-catching cases, cultural and news workers played a significant role in getting messages reposted and commented upon. These findings suggest that while Weibo provides channels for citizens to publish information and opinion, the news media and online outlets remain as the main vehicle of agenda setting and public dissemination. Reputable individuals are able to triumph as public opinion leaders in certain cases. The party-state, with the media under its control, is able to maintain its general domination of public opinion on the Sina Weibo platform.

 

Joyce Y.M. Nip is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications and the Department of Chinese Studies at the University of Sydney. She was a journalist before becoming an academic, and is an editorial board member of Journalism Practice and Digital Journalism.

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Media@Sydney is presented by the Department of Media and Communications, University of Sydney

 

Location: S226 Seminar Room, Department of Media and Communications, University of Sydney

Contact:Fiona Martin
Phone:0428 391 122 or 02 9036 5098
Email:fiona.martin@sydney.edu.au

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