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Challenging Official Propaganda? Public Opinion Leaders on Sina Weibo*

  • Joyce Y. M. Nip (a1) and King-wa Fu (a2)

Abstract

This article examines the prominence of various user categories as opinion leaders, defined as initiators, agenda setters or disseminators, in 29 corruption cases exposed on Sina Weibo. It finds that ordinary citizens made up the largest category of initiators but that their power of opinion leadership was limited as they had to rely on media organizations to spread news about the cases. News organizations and online media were the main opinion leaders. Government and Party bodies initiated a fair number of cases and, despite not being strong agenda setters or disseminators, were able to dominate public opinion owing to the fact that news organizations and online media mainly published official announcements about the cases. Media organizations also played a secondary role as the voice of the people. While individuals from some other user categories were able to become prominent opinion leaders, news workers are likely to be the most promising user category to challenge official propaganda.

本文研究中国社交媒体新浪微博上揭发的二十九宗官员贪污事件, 探讨什么类型用户在其中担当舆论领袖(指讯息发起人、议程设定人或讯息发布者)。结果显示一般民众是讯息发起人中的最大类别, 但其引领舆论的能力有限, 须依靠传媒机构才能扩大公众对事件的关注。新闻机构和网上媒体是最主要的舆论领袖。政府和党机关虽然并非主要议程设定或发布者, 但仍揭发一定数量的个案, 并且由于新闻机构和网上媒体经常引述官方公布, 令政府和党机关的讯息能间接主导舆论。新闻机构也同时反映民众的声音, 新闻工作者亦属其他类别人仕中最有机会成为出众的舆论领袖, 并借此挑战官方宣传的主导

Copyright

Corresponding author

Email: joyce.nip@sydney.edu.au (corresponding author).

Footnotes

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*

The first author's research is supported by the Faculty Research Support Scheme of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the University of Sydney. The second author's research project is supported by the University of Hong Kong Seed Funding Program for Basic Research and the General Research Fund, Research Grants Council, Hong Kong (Project Code: 17402314).

Footnotes

References

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