From suppression to guidance : a case study of crisis communication of the Chinese government in Ya'an earthquake

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201807022902
Title: From suppression to guidance : a case study of crisis communication of the Chinese government in Ya'an earthquake
Author: Lyu, Bingying
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Sosiaalitieteiden laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Research
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för socialvetenskaper
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2014
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201807022902
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/236873
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Viestintä
Media and Communication Studies
Medier och kommunikation
Abstract: Modern China has entered an era of risk society. The emerging public crises are challenging the government's reactions including the openness and speed of information, the reconstruction of credibility and reputation. On the other hand, the media environment has changed enormously. Despite the tight censorship of China's traditional media, social media provide both opportunities and challenges for government crisis communication in terms of its fast speed of transmitting and instantaneous sharing of information, reliance on user-generated content, and openness of public opinions and easiness to access. Since social media are empowered to reshape the public opinion field, media manipulation from the government changes accordingly. Therefore, this study focuses on the way social media was used actively in the crisis communication in the 2013 Ya'an earthquake by the Chinese government and respond from the public. Mixed research methods are used in the study, including content analysis as quantitative method, and frame analysis as qualitative method. This research first identifies how did the state-owned media presented the crisis. Subsequently, it explores what crisis communication strategies the state-owned media applies on social media during the earthquake, and how effective those strategies are based on attitudes of the public. As an authoritarian country, the Chinese government used to cover crisis and suppress discussions to maintain stability of the society, which caused distrust among the public. However, different from the stereotype, the Chinese government tends to guide public opinion to the positive direction rather than hiding the truth nowadays. Based on the analysis, the conclusion can be drawn clearly how the Chinese government managed and responded to the crisis through the state-owned media.
Subject: crisis communication
social media
media censorship
government
earthquake
content analysis


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