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JMSC Research Seminar: Challenging official propaganda? Public opinion leaders on Sina Weibo

Challenging official propaganda





Speaker: Dr Joyce Nip, Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney

Date: Friday November 29, 2013
Time: 1 – 2 p.m.
Venue: Digital Media Lab, Eliot Hall

Free Admission

Popularity of the Internet has changed the way public opinion is formed. Before the Internet, news information and commentaries–the basis and source of influence on public opinion– was disseminated by traditional mass media. The content of news media in the West was in itself largely decided by news professionals and the elites. In the PRC, where the news media are state-owned, official control of news is a prominent feature of its public communication system. With digital network media on the Internet, ordinary people can now produce, publish and disseminate information publicly, and this changes their role in the formation of public opinion. In China, the launch of Weibo by in 2009 pushed the new dynamic to a new height. As a result of events and grievances exposed on Weibo, critical public opinion has been formed over many issues, and which has led to the investigation of malpractices, calling off of unpopular projects, and dismissal of officials. The study reported here forms part of a larger project about public opinion on Sina Weibo. It focuses on the exposure of a series of corrupt officials on Sina Weibo after the 18th Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in 2012, and examines the social positions of opinion leaders in these cases. The relative roles of official agencies, mainstream news media and citizens are discussed in public opinion formation in these cases.

Dr Joyce Nip is senior lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications as well as Department of Chinese Studies at the University of Sydney. In 2004-5, Joyce was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar affiliated with the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland, College Park. She is editorial board member of Journalism Practice and Digital Journalism. Before joining the academia, she worked as a journalist and cultural manager.