What the world needs to know about the mass media’s influence on mass culture
What the mass public needs to understand about the influence of mass media on mass society, and the ways that the media can shape how we live our lives, according to a new report by The Center for Media and Democracy.
The report, released Wednesday, comes as China, the world’s most populous country and the world leader in mass media adoption, continues to struggle with rising corruption, the threat of cyber-attacks, and rising nationalism.
In a country where the Communist Party holds power by a landslide, corruption has plagued the state-run Xinhua news agency, which has become synonymous with corruption.
The news agency has faced accusations of covering up a massive bribery scandal involving senior party officials, and it has faced allegations of covering for one of China’s top leaders, Bo Xilai.
The study also points to a growing number of state-owned media outlets that are more favorable toward the government, and more reliant on government funding, according the report.
“The growing concentration of state owned media in Chinese markets is threatening the country’s democracy,” said Brian Stelter, the executive director of The Center, which is a nonprofit that monitors media coverage of China.
“While China has historically been a media leader, its media landscape has increasingly shifted to the state, where government media dominates.”
According to the study, the concentration of government-owned television and radio stations in the cities of Shanghai and Beijing, as well as the growth of state news outlets in Xinjiang, Xinjiang province, is a significant threat to China’s democracy.
The concentration of media ownership in Chinese cities and the growth in state-controlled news outlets is a serious problem, said Stelters co-author Jennifer Granick, a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Chinese news media has a lot of political and social power, and that power is becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few,” Granick said.
“It is a sign that the Chinese media landscape is changing rapidly.
There are no obvious alternatives to the one-party state.”
While China’s press is under pressure from the government to maintain control over its news and information, the study also found that there is a lack of transparency and accountability for the decisions that state-sponsored media make.
In fact, some of the news outlets’ coverage of the corruption scandal and the Bo Xilsai scandal has been critical, the report found.
“As the number of media outlets has increased, the government’s coverage has become more critical,” Granik said.
“The media have been in the spotlight, and they have been criticized.”
The Center’s report was released to coincide with the release of the first annual report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which examines the state of press freedom in 21 countries across the world.
The Center has been documenting media in China for over a decade, and its findings are part of a larger report, called “Global Press Freedom,” released in December that highlights the state’s censorship of the Internet.
“In recent years, Chinese media has become increasingly state-affiliated,” said Stelster.
“It is increasingly controlled by the state.”
“China’s media landscape looks increasingly like the one that it was before the CCP came to power,” Stelts report said.
The research team examined press freedom data from countries such as India, South Korea, and Turkey, and concluded that China has a “significant” problem in controlling media coverage and information.
The researchers also found China’s media is increasingly dependent on government money, and this “results in greater and greater dependence on state-funded media.”
Stelters study concluded that “the Chinese government has taken steps to weaken press freedom” and has a strong interest in controlling the media.
“These steps, coupled with a dearth of independent media and media outlets, are likely to result in a deepening of the crisis of the media environment in China,” Stelsters report concluded.