China's influence on media in southeast Asia: a case study of the Philippines, Thailand and Cambodia

  • Cong Chen

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    This thesis interrogates how China influences one of its neighboring regions, Southeast Asia, in the aspect of media. Issues of how China's growing influence extends to media coverage and framing of news involving China and China's engagement in Southeast Asia have been brought up but has not been examined with empirical evidence. The research questions of this thesis concern how China is presented in local reporting in Southeast Asian media and why it is framed as it is portrayed in news media in the region. This research considers whether China's political and financial interests through media ownership, funding, soft power, and other factors are exerting influence on media coverage in Southeast Asia. Drawing on theoretical contributions from the theory of the political economy of media, comparative media systems theory and the theory of public diplomacy, the thesis assesses the situations based on a case study of the Philippines, Thailand and Cambodia by collecting and analyzing empirical data from these three Southeast Asian countries. The mix-method approach has been adopted in this study, which includes a quantitative content analysis on the news content of the selected Southeast Asian newspapers, and a qualitative analysis depending on semi-structured interviews with local media practitioners who share their understanding of journalistic routines and personal experiences in reporting China-related news in the field study. Some noteworthy findings have been drawn from the analysis. China has observable impacts on the media content in the Philippines, Thailand and Cambodia, limited to certain aspects in relation to China's growing regional power. Philippine newspapers adopt considerably more negative frames than newspapers of Thailand and Cambodia. There are unwritten guidelines in their news outlets and certain principles that media practitioners in Southeast Asia need to follow when covering China-related issues.

    Date of Award20 Jan 2020
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorYu HUANG (Supervisor)

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Mass media
    • Political aspects
    • China
    • Economic aspects

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