MICRO-BLOG’S ROLE IN CHINESE MEDIA INDUSTRY: A BOOSTER OF MEDIA FREEDOM AND A HOTBED OF GOSSIP
Master of Science
Department or Program
Mass Communication and Media Arts
China’s media freedom has improved compared with several decades ago, but the Chinese media is still under the supervision of the Chinese central government. In 2009, Micro-Blog service was brought into the Chinese media market by Sina, one of China’s biggest media companies. Since its start, Micro-Blog service has, to some extent, changed the environment of the Chinese media industry. Netizens use Micro-Blog to negotiate with the government about policy-making, to call for help during emergencies, to send their opinions about social or economic issues, and most importantly, to broadcast their everyday lives. But problems have also been generated by this new media product, as false rumors have been found on this platform, and sometimes the rumors have undercut social stability. Based on a wide selection of literature, the researcher explored the Micro-Bloggers’ behavior, Micro-Blogging profiles, and the social benefits of this service. The researcher also tried to discover whether Micro-Blog service is filled with rumors, and whether it is challenging the position of the mainstream news industry.
Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used during the research procedure. A content analysis on the content of Micro-Blogs was conducted from January 29 2013 to February 4 2013. The researcher also obtained survey results from fifty Chinese people. Three case studies were conducted to find out both positive and negative sides of this Micro-Blog service.
The research shows that the Micro-Blog service is really popular in China, and that the Chinese people are mainly using Micro-Blog as a tool of broadcasting their everyday lives to friends. Micro-Blog has provided Chinese netizens an platform to negotiate with government, and a venue to discuss topics about politics and anti-corruption issues. It’s clear, however, the Micro-Blog has facilitated the spreading of rumors to some extent. It has also been found that Chinese Netizens have confidence in Micro-Blog, and would like to benefit more from it in the future.