Reading between the headlines: SARS, Focus and TV current affairs programmes in China

Xiaoling Zhang

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article first examines the coverage of SARS by Focus with a view to examining whether there really was a 'breakthrough' for TV current affairs programmes in China in the coverage of SARS after two decades of reform that has greatly increased the power of the market relative to the old political imperatives. The article then explores why Focus, as a product of reform, has failed audiences' expectations. The article concludes that TV current affairs programmes in China have been exploited to play a key role in shaping public discourse and creating a social or psychological climate favourable for political stability, and at times of crisis has far less freedom than usual to violate the guidelines set down by the state. Focus will remain as 'an example' of media supervision for other TV current affairs programmes in China and for the outside world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-737
Number of pages23
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Volume28
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Formal democracy
  • Investigative journalism
  • Media supervision
  • Political and social stability
  • Sensitive topics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

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