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Comparing Official Discourses on the Media and Politics in China and Russia

Sat, June 11, 14:00 to 15:15, Fukuoka Hilton, Rigel

Abstract

A number of leading communication scholars have recently called for more attention to questions of meaning and ideology in comparative media research (McCargo, 2012; Voltmer, 2012; Zhao, 2012). In an attempt to heed this call, this presentation compares the official discourses on the relationship between the media and politics in China and Russia--two high profile, non-Western, non-democratic countries. The dominant ideological narratives are reconstructed on the grounds of a qualitative analysis of how leading state-controlled media in the two countries covered a series of media-related key events in the course of a one-year period. The narratives identified can be used to make sense of many seemingly paradoxical observations of the media landscapes of the two countries. For instance, they can be used to explain why the Kremlin owns Russia’s most influential oppositional radio station (Echo Moscow) – but is reluctant to interfere with its reporting, and why Chinese authorities may control the official line on some crisis issues, such as mass protests, more so than on others, such as environmental disasters.

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