The 17th Chinese Internet Research Conference “Digital Cultures: Chinese Internet and Beyond”

The 17th Chinese Internet Research Conference

 “Digital Cultures: Chinese Internet and Beyond”


28 June 2019, Friday

Orchard Hotel Singapore

442 Orchard Road, Singapore, 238879

Co-organized by National University of Singapore &

Murdoch University, Singapore and Australia


*Open to registered attendees ONLY.



Keynote Panel (830-930a) – Ballroom 3 Panelists: Audrey Yue, John Erni, Fran Martin

Moderator: Tania Lim

Tea Break (930 – 945a)  
Panel 1.1 (945 – 1115am) – Ballroom 3 CNM20/FASS90 panel – Beyond China (Chair: Weiyu Zhang) Help: Xi Yipeng
1 Global Internet Governance: Perspectives from China, Malaysia and Singapore Susan Leong, Terence Lee
2 Between the Online and Offline: Self-Organization and Representation in China, France and Russia Anna Shpakovskaya, Charlotte Fouillet


3 Technology-assisted Political Awakening among the Silent Minority: The rise of China-based social media platforms and their role in the information environment and opinion space for new U.S. immigrants Jingsi Christina Wu
4 Designed for the Bottom of the Pyramid: Examining a Chinese Phone Company in Africa LU Miao
5 A Study on the Overseas Transcultural Fandom of Chinese Internet Literature Xiao Jun, Xie Xi
Panel 1.2 (945 – 1115am) – Lavender Room Governance/Surveillance (Chair: Peter Yu) Help: Chen Zhuo
1 When does online expression lead to real-world harms? A qualitative analysis of incidents of users arrested for their social media use in China Lotus Ruan, Masashi Crete-Nishihata, , Jeffrey Knockel
2 Fabricating legitimacy: cyber propaganda on China’s WeChat Titus Chen
3 Specific Propaganda, Censorship and Defense against External Criticism in China Dongshu Liu, Li Shao, Fangfei Wang
4 Championing Democracy in an Authoritarian Society: The Effects of the American Embassy’s Social Media Operations on Public Opinion in China Haifeng Huang
Panel 2.1 (1115-1245pm) – Ballroom 3 News/Media (Chair: Gerard Goggin) Help: Weiyu Zhang
1 Reglocalization, Digital Platforms and Rise of regionally-networked cities media system in producing pan-Chinese palace dramas for transnational audiences Tania Lim
2 “News Ranger” in Digital China? Studying the Promise and Limitations of Online News in China through the Case of Dingxiangyuan (DXY) Yue Yang, Liyue Shi
3 Trust, But Verify – How Perceptions of Fake News Shape Media Trust in China Lars Willnat, Shuo Tang, Jian Shi
4 Microblogging in the Heart of China:Reconstruction of the Urban Environment in Beijing Jingxi Chen
5 From Dark Visitors to Entrepreneurial Geeks: The Evolution of Hacktivism in China Mei Nelson
Panel 2.2 (1115-1245pm) – Lavender Room Industry/Platforms (Chair: Peng Hwa Ang) Help: Chen Zhuo
1 The history of Zhongguancun: exploring the roots of the Chinese creative industry Gianluigi Negro
2 Social Capital, Financial Resource Access and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Exploring the Creation of Gaming Ventures in Shanghai Gejun Huang
3 Disappearing Bargain: the Erosion of Mobile Payment in China Yipeng Xi
4 Sharing economy, sharing culture: Chinese social networking’s  Online-and-offline simultaneous experience Hsin-Pey Peng
Lunch (1245-2pm) Rosewood Room, Level 2
Panel 3.1 (2-330p) – Ballroom 3 Gender/Fandom (Chair: Jie Zhang) Help: Xi Yipeng
1 Research on the Image Construction and Behavior of Fans in New Media Environment Cui Yunfang,  Hou Qiuya
2 Playing China’s University Entrance Exam: The Videogame ‘Chinese Parents’ and its Political Potentials Florian Schneider
3 “The Big Women:” A Textual Analysis of Chinese Viewers’ Perception towards Femvertising Vlogs Duan Xu
4 Social Media as the Arena for Feminist Movement in China: Opportunities and Challenges for the Un-self-identified Weibo “Feminists” Mao Chengting
Panel 3.2  (2-330p) – Lavender Room China’s Platform Capitalists and Dreams of Digital Power in the Asia Pacific and Beyond (Chair: Terence Lee) Michael Keane

Brian Yecies

Elaine Jing Zhao

Haiqing Yu

Susan Leong

Help: Chen Zhuo

Tea Break (330-345pm)  
Panel 4.1 (345 – 515pm) – Ballroom 3 Ideology/Politics (Chair: Jack Qiu) Help: Xi Yipeng
1 How Dark Corners Collude: Chinese Alt-Right Communities on Weibo Tian Yang, Kecheng Fang, Alvin Zhou
2 Understanding Public Participation in Politicized Consumer Activism: Mechanism of Participation in a Chinese Context Zhuo Chen, Lianshan Zhang
3 Social Media, Religion and Shifting Boundaries in Globalizing China Sng Bee Bee
4 Online Scrutiny of People with ‘Nice Cars’: the Class Struggle in China and Beyond Qian Huang, Rashid Gabdulhakov, Daniel Trottier
Panel 4.2 (345 – 515pm) – Lavender Room Users/Community (Chair: Florian Schneider) Help: Weiyu Zhang
1 From “Ambiguities” to Meanings: The process of meaning construction among early Internet users in China Wei Wang
2 Being a Different “Me” and Narcissism: A study on how selfie taking behaviors reveal digital identity among Chinese urban youth QIAN WANG, Bing Xiao
3 We Are All Lonely Feifeis: the Symbolic Construction of the Homogeneity and the Collective Consciousness in An Chinese Online Community Yingce GAO
4 Pushing, pulling, or drifting? The use of the Internet and information-seeking practices in everyday life Pu Yan
5 Who Sells Knowledge Online? Understanding Online Identities of Knowledge Influencers on Pay-for-Knowledge Platform Xiaoyu Chen, Han Zheng
Closing session (515-530pm) – Ballroom 3 Student Awards

Introduction to next year CIRC

FASS Awards Ceremony2018: Congratulations!

Congratulations to our Graduate Students and Teaching Assistants who have been awarded the Graduate Students Teaching Award at the FASS Awards Ceremony 2018!

Graduate Students Teaching Award Honour Roll
Ang Yee Hong Dennis


Graduate Students Teaching Award
Li Pengxiang
Ng Shi Jia Jessica Cara
Annisa Ridzkynoor Beta
Augustus Ceasar Destura Latosa
Bernadette Low Yan Fen

Courage and The Art of Belief: Communication that Intervenes

Dear colleagues and friends of CNM,

Today is my last day officially as Head of CNM. As I write this goodbye note to you, I want to thank you for the wonderful memories, the many joys of building an innovative department together, and the courage with which we have pushed inter-disciplinary conversations.

Thinking of CNM, I will always be reminded of a space- vibrant, full of laughter, and with a whole lot of belief in the positive capacity to transform the world.

This vision of CNM as a bold and positive change-maker in Singapore and in the world has been a source of inspiration for my leadership journey. We have been led by a vision of building a pedagogy and research infrastructure for Communication that Creates. The creative capacity of communication is best embodied in your scholarship and pedagogy and I am so very proud of that.

As I write this last note to you as the Head of CNM, I want to share with you a message that has been at the heart of how we, as a Department, have seen and shaped the world. It is the message that the conviction of belief is quintessential to the power of change.

Belief, when grounded in a vision for the future, builds pathways never imagined before.

Our sense of the creative capacity of communication has led to the belief that communication is most powerful when it intervenes into the world in a positive way. Amid the challenges of climate change, growing global inequalities, consolidation of power in the hands of a few, polarization, lack of public trust, and global democracy deficit, communication holds the power to materializing an ecologically sustainable, democratic, and socially just world.

The values of communication are central to the possibilities of the world ahead.

Over these years, we have grown as a Department at a dramatic pace. The novelty and practice-relevance of our modules continues to attract new students, making us a top destination. CNM faculty have been continually innovating with the curriculum, creating new course offerings, connecting these offerings to an ever-changing digital landscape, and experimenting with new methods of teaching.

Our Industry Advisory Council has played a key role in helping us shape our curriculum, guiding the development of new modules in areas such as Financial Communication and Crisis Communication. It’s been a pleasure building a cutting-edge curriculum that is grounded in continually pushing the theory-practice conversations. It has been a pleasure to invite CNM alums Audrey Tan, Co-Founder and CEO, Angels of Impact and PlayMoolah, and Mr. Julian Lim, Vice President, Group Corporate Communications, OCBC Bank, to serve on the Council. I especially want to thank Mr. Adrian Heng, Vice President, Communications and Marketing, Booq’ed Southeast Asia, for taking a leadership role in continually pushing the curriculum toward innovation. Thanks also to Dr. Chitra Rajaram, Director, NewsHub, MediaCorp Pte Ltd, Ms. Georgette Tan, Vice President, Communications (Asia/Pacific, Middle East, Africa), MasterCard WorldWide (Singapore), and Ms. Vanessa Ho-Nikolovski, Managing Director, Weber Shandwick Singapore, who have tirelessly contributed to the curriculum innovations in CNM.

The excellence of our curriculum that brings together interaction design, communication management, and media studies, is recognized by our industry partners, with the Department continually maintaining its top tier industry rankings. On a similar note, over the last few years, we have continued to be in the top tier of Communication programs in the world, our reputation resting on our imagination of creating communication to generate social impact. CNM has been a leader both in the Faculty of Social Sciences at NUS and globally in creating new grounds for building pedagogy that makes an impact. Our curriculum is solidly grounded in the Communication discipline and is simultaneously enriched by the conversations opened up by Media Design and the Humanities.

Based on six industry dialogues, we undertook an extensive curriculum transformation in 2012-2013, pulling together a curriculum with a solid core in theory and methodology (with compulsory Qualitative Communication Research Methods and Quantitative Research Methods modules) and specialized offerings in industry-relevant areas. We also started working on a Compulsory Internship that would give our students to immerse in the world of communication practice, connecting practices to theorizing. This year we launched the Internship, and look forward to witnessing its continued growth. Thanks to Malathi, Amir, Ee Lyn, Sofia, Raksha, Afreen, Kai En and Bernadette who have been working tirelessly to ensure that the internship program is delivered with excellence and serving the needs of our students.

We have been at the forefront in the Faculty in offering digital modules such as Lonce’s Interaction Design Modules, the Online Introduction to New Media and Society module targeted at NS (national service)-men, and the many flipped classroom modules that we offer. Teaching innovations such as practice-driven teaching, mobile teaching, teaching in a food pantry, and creating problem-driven communication solutions have been critical components of the module.

The Department also launched the first NUS Coursera Specialization, Public Relations in a Digital World. Comprising of four different modules, the specialization has been heavily subscribed, drawing students from across the world.

Based on the lessons learned in its extensive curriculum innovations, the Department has built capacities for communication and new media pedagogy across Asia, hosting Departments from Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, India, and South Korea on study tours. We have shared our curriculum, classroom technologies, and teaching methods with colleagues across Asia. I have enjoyed the many such opportunities to share the CNM curriculum.

Our Industry Advisory Council has also played a key role in creating spaces for academic-practice conversations, inviting industry leaders into the University. This year, we held Industry-Academic forums on Communicative freedoms and Communication in practice. These forums on one hand showcased CNM thought leadership, and on the other hand, drew on the extensive knowledge of industry partners to frame key communication questions.

The Department has witnessed a number of new junior colleagues who bring with them new energy and hopes for the future. Dr. Andrew Quitmeyer, Dr. Nancy Flude, Dr. Weiquan Lu, Dr. Shaohai Jiang, Dr. Renyi Hong, Dr. Tabarez Neyazi, Dr. Asha Pandi, and Dr. Dazzelyn Zapata joined the Department in 2016-2017 period. This year, we are delighted to welcome Dr. Soo Jung Hong into the Department. Dr. Hong, an already accomplished researcher in Health Communication, received this year the Young Health Communication Scholar Award from the Kentucky Conference in Health Communication, a much-coveted award.

With the new comes the time to acknowledge the many contributions from the past. Colleagues such as Hichang Cho, Lonce Wyse, and Gui Kai Chong have been with CNM since its early days, shaping the department and contributing to its growth. Lonce and Hichang have always been the foundations that have guided me in my journey, there for advice and support. Colleagues such as Milagros Rivera, T. T. Sreekumar, Ingrid Hoofd, Julian Lin, Seow Ting Lee, and Denisa Kera who are no longer with the Department have been amazing contributors to the ethos of CNM. Colleagues Alex Mitchell, Iccha Basnyat, Debalina Dutta, Ee Lyn Tan, Asha Pandi, Eun Hwa Jung, Dazzelyn Zapata, Nancy Flude, Aaron Ng, Raka Shome, Sameer Deshpande have always stepped up to shoulder significant responsibilities in contributing to the everyday workings of CNM as department citizens.

A strong department is held together by the hard work of our administrative team. Jen has held our technical infrastructure together with her sincerity and commitment. The tireless work of Malathi and Gayathri have been quintessential to the dynamism and rapid growth of CNM. Amir joined the team and contributed with his energy and vision. Zafirah and Halimah have joined our team with a sense of commitment to contributing to the Department. As we say goodbye to Gayathri this year, we acknowledge the strong contributions of our administrative team that form the heart of what we do in CNM. A large part of the credit for our growth and sustenance goes to these colleagues. We are grateful to colleagues such as our aunties who make sure the offices, hallways, and restrooms are always clean, and who often go unacknowledged. Our departmental climate has been grounded in this spirit of equality and respect for our staff.

Our research profile has continued to grow globally, with diverse faculty interests being held together by an underlying commitment to moving beyond the ivory tower to generating social impact. This social impact mission is exemplified in research projects that cover digital art collaborations, collaborative music, cancer communication, doctor-patient communication, social media interventions, digital storytelling in games, automation, designing interactive urban spaces, designing ecologically sustainable solutions, creating digital performance art, developing public advocacy campaigns, creating community-based participatory research solutions, etc. The social impact mission of the Department continues to touch lives in ways that push the realms of academic possibilities, while at the same time contributing to the scholarship of communication and digital media. Our 2018 CNM-CARE conference themed Communication Interventions showcased the many innovations that have been nurtured and created at CNM, bringing back colleagues Denisa Kera, T T Sreekumar, and Ingrid Hoofd.

The many speakers and visitors who have shared their work generously with us have helped us grow in our individual and collective journeys. That we are at the crossroads of new conversations is witnessed in these many threads of conversations that have been shared with us by these international colleagues who are leaders in their fields. Cherian George, Raka Shome, Charles Briggs, Anne Gregory, Deborah Lupton, Susan Douglas, Collins Airhihenbuwa, Gary Kreps, Sanjoy Bhattacharya, Debbie Dougherty, Barbara Sharf, Madeline Schwartzman, Biswarup Sen, Glenn Sparks, Kleis Nielsen, Evelyn Ho, Sameer Deshpande, and Jeff Peterson who have spent their invaluable time and energy with us in mentoring, offering workshops on publishing, and opening up conversations.

Our undergraduate and graduate students are truly our best assets. I have loved witnessing the ways in which our undergraduate students have contributed to critical and important conversations in Singapore and the region. The many social enterprises and start-ups they have built speak to the CNM spirit of innovating with a difference. Efforts such as Heart to Climb and Angels of Impact led by our alums reflect the social impact spirit of CNM. In a wide range of ways, our students have contributed to society and community. They have done so bringing their theoretical knowledge and rigorous training in methods together. At the core of these contributions is their commitment to communicating with a heart. The many innovation industries in which our undergraduate students flourish speak to this CNM difference. Our graduate students have continued to shine in Singapore and globally. They have contributed to the many vital contributions of digital and communication spaces in Asia, and continue to push the boundaries of social impact through this important scholarship. For me personally, one of the best parts of the journey in CNM has been the opportunity to learn from and converse with our students.

Summing up, the last six years have offered me excellent opportunities to grow as a teacher, scholar and leader. I have learned from our students, colleagues, and communities that communication is powerful. To believe in the transformative power of communication is to know that the discourses we generate and the meanings we work with create incredible opportunities for others, especially those who are systematically disenfranchised by powerful forces in society.

I wrap up this note sharing snippets of a hymn that I had learned in school as a student with dreams.

It takes courage to answer a call,
It takes courage to lose your all,
It takes courage to risk your name,
It takes courage to be true.

It takes courage to dare,
One that no will share;
To be standing alone,
One whom no one will own;
To be ready to stake for another one’s sake,
It takes courage to be true.

The very best of wishes to you!

You now have a new home in New Zealand to continue with these many conversations.


Invited Speaker at King’s College London- Assistant Professor Taberez Ahmed Neyazi

Dr. Taberez Ahmed Neyazi has been invited to speak at the Transnational Law Summit 2018, which is being convened under the theme: The New Human Condition: Creating Justice for Our Future at King’s College London, from 10-13 April 2018. As part of the critical inquiry into the crisis of democracy, the rise of authoritarianism and populism the Summit will discuss on the crucial role of journalism in activism and societal reaction.  Dr. Neyazi will be speaking on the impact of new media on political ‘voice’, protest and representation, as part of a deeper inquiry into the ‘transformation of the public sphere’ and into new formations of resistance and democratic power. The participants in the Summit include Journalists, Artists, Academics, International Organisations, NGOs, Cities, Courts, Social Movements, and the Arts.

Random Blends 2018

Random Blends is 10 years old. It’s the showcase event for NUS’ Department of Communications and New Media, and will feature over 25 compelling projects by students, alumni and staff. Playing on the prefix ‘re’- commonly used in reduce, reuse and recycle– Random Blends is our re:ply to an environment desperately crying out for change. We challenge your ideas about the environment through interactive and out-of-this-world exhibits. Experience innovative applications of technology, and join us as we explore the socio-political environments that surround us. Immerse yourself in thought-provoking artifacts, stories and campaigns that are firmly anchored in urgent social issues.

Together with Zero Waste SG, PM Haze, Seastainable Co.,The Sustainability Project, Books and Beer, and Haikini, CNM invites you to a space of collective responses, thoughts, emotions and hopes for environmental sustainability. Be part of a unique eco-sustainability movement that blends modern tech with environmental awareness.

Random Blends will be at University Town on 5 – 6 April 2018. Join us!

Opinion: Rahul Gandhi In Singapore- The Truth Vs The Fake

Professor Mohan Dutta discusses the controversy generated by a question and answer (Q&A) session with Mr. Rahul Gandhi, leader of the opposition party, Indian National Congress, during his visit to the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. Gandhi’s style of participation in the question and answer session, the article argues, teaches the world the spirits of argumentation and dialogue that form the soul of Indian democracy.

Theoretically and empirically, I have many points of disagreement with Rahul Gandhi. I disagree with his unfettered celebration of connectivity and fiber optic cables when narrating the story of India at the cost of obfuscating the narratives of poverty, in access, and inequality.

Source: The Citizen

CNM Alumnus Ashok Kumar Scales New Heights With Charitable Cause

Now a celebrity with a unique social initiative, Ashik Ashokan is a CNM alumnus who is making waves, one charitable cause at a time.

Heart2Climb was founded by Ashik and his former Innova Junior College classmate Ashok Kumar in 2014. To date, they have raised raised a total of $200,000. They are currently embarking on a new adventure to the world’s highest volcano Ojos Del Salado in South America. They aim to be the first Singaporeans to complete the 7 volcanic summits.

The beneficiary of their present expedition is the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH), which supports Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents with certified low vision or blindness. The motivation behind this climb is to highlight the challenges that the handicapped face on a daily basis. According to Ashik, they climb mountains every day.

Ashik currently works as a digital strategist with VML Southeast Asia & India. He specialises in target audience analysation and also client liaison.

Central to his success are the many opportunities that were available while he was a Communications and New Media student in NUS. As a hardworking sub-editor of the NUS CNM magazine Campus Eye, Ashik helped cover hot topics like the 2015 General Elections- interviewing key politicians and the public.

Working with companies such as Grab and Sony Pictures after graduation, he developed a keen sense of working closely with companies and other initiatives. In the initial stages of Heart2Climb, he had a difficult time trying to secure sponsorships. However, through sheer grit and hard work, he succeeded in convincing Starhub and RedBull to sponsor his first expedition and social initiative.

Written by Aby Tirza, CNM Student, Year 2

CNM’s Participation at Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

Marie Angela Ordoñez recently presented at the 2nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Papua New Guinea Communications Capacity Building Workshop.

Held at the historic Port Moresby between December 7 and 8, the workshop aims to help the government of Papua New Guinea foresee and overcome logistical and communications challenges as the country prepares to host the APEC forums in 2018.

The presentations were based on her experience in coordinating operations as a government communications officer when Philippines hosted APEC in 2015, with topics spanning from media evaluation and messaging traction, to crisis management, and inter-agency coordination and media operations.

Marie, or Magel as we know her in CNM, is currently a 2nd year Master’s candidate. She is working on her thesis with Dr. Elmie Nekmat to examine the formation and effects of public opinion perception on individual expression and information credibility evaluation in social media.

We wish Magel the best for her studies and look forward to her future contribution to the field!

Political Communication and Mobilisation: The Hindi Media in India- By Assistant Professor Taberez Ahmed Neyazi

Any generalisation about the Indian media is problematic because there are diverse media systems within the country. The Hindi language media has the widest circulation, reaching almost 40 per cent of India’s total population, and the Hindi- speaking population accounts for over 40 per cent of the national population and is regionally concentrated in the northern and central parts of India. The success of the Hindi media should not be compared with other vernacular language media such as Tamil and Bengali, because the Hindi language press enjoyed state support both during the colonial period and in newly independent India that helped the Hindi media attain privileged status. Hindi, together with other vernacular media, has a far wider reach than the indigenous English media, catering to both elite and popular constituencies, and is a politically significant player. While the English language media is often described as the ‘national media’, its reach is limited to a much smaller percentage of the population – the English-speaking elites and the middle class. The process of political communication is, therefore, more nuanced because of the complexity and diversity of the Indian news media market than in most countries.

Moreover, the complexities associated with the size of the political economy of India requires special focus on how ethnic, religious and sectarian diversity impacts media markets/systems, political campaigning, protest movements and grassroots mobilisation. This is largely because of the many languages in India and the existence of numerous regional and local media systems in vernacular languages. Despite the fact that similar large economic forces operate in the globalising Indian market place, there are still stark socio-cultural differences in the media systems of different states in India and, thus, many media systems exist within one country. At the same time, the process of political communication is affected by the gap between urban and rural, as well as inter- and intra- state differences on various development indicators such as literacy, poverty, urbanisation and media availability. In contrast to many western democracies that have experienced a largely linear process of media evolution with the rise of print followed by radio then television and more recently the cell phone and the internet, India has witnessed tremendous growth across all media simultaneously over the past decade. The non-linear development of India’s communication processes and the proliferation of different sources of information have deepened the fragmentation in the already fragmented media.

Scholars writing about the Indian media tend to overlook these complexities and have focused instead on the Indian media as a singular entity. The lack of political autonomy is another issue that has been raised with respect to television and press. Since the rise of television in the 1990s, there is a growing literature suggesting the rise of ‘infotainment’, ‘Murdochisation of news’ and ‘commodification of news’ without reference to language, in part because these trends are common across most Hindi and vernacular media. Notwithstanding these shortcomings, news media in India has played a significant role in influencing politics and affected the transformation at the grassroots. There is a simultaneous presence of commercialisation and infotainment along with a concern for the poor and the marginalised in the Indian media. This hybrid character is clearly reflected in the Hindi media-mediated democratic transformation, defined here as mobilisation for electoral politics as well as civil society activism.

The core argument of this book is that the Hindi media has played and continues to play a catalytic role as mobilising agents in the ongoing democratic transformation in India. The mobilising role of the Hindi media was also evident in colonial India where the Hindi media aligned with the freedom struggle and helped mobilise public opinion against the British. Instead of viewing the Indian media as a singular entity, this book demonstrates its diversity and complexity to understand the changing dynamics of political communication that is shaped by the interactions among the news media, political parties and diverse public. In the process, I show the ways the media in India tread the diverse space in this comparatively young democracy by encouraging political and social mobilisation while dealing with complex local realities. I also show how the new forms of media are being used by people, movements and political parties for social and political mobilisation in a rapidly transforming media environment.

I provide insights into the profound and messy, yet quiet, transformations taking place in the countryside and small towns, away from the glare of the Delhi-based TV studios. In a growing economy such as India’s, what role do media play in mobilising political awareness? What role does the Hindi language media, accessed by over 40 per cent of the people, play in building this political awareness? And when nearly 30 per cent of the population is illiterate, how is the work of the media relevant to their lives?

This study is located in the larger context of mobilisation and political awakening that is growing at the grassroots level in India, and at an important juncture in the evolution of the Indian state when the Indian economy is increasingly driven by a private sector orientation after the economy began to open up after the financial crisis in 1991. Critics have questioned whether the neo-liberal measures have really helped improve life chances for the marginalised through betterment of education, health and job opportunities. This is where the rise of the vernacular media, which started to discuss local issues, politics and society of its own local public, assumes significance, since media plays both an important and a critical role in evaluating the day-to-day functioning of the state and society. There have also been growing debates about the increasing influence of markets and governments in the functioning of the media. Several studies have analysed the ramifications of the corporatisation of the media and ownership concentration for democracy. Along with the increasing commercialisation of media in India, there is a cosy relationship between the government, the media and corporations, as well as the issue of opaque media ownership. The phenomena of paid news, where media outlets produce content on behalf of politicians, celebrities and companies for payment that is passed off as news and not advertising, is a serious challenge that questions the independence of Indian media from external influence.

The instrumentalisation of media, where proprietors use media to advance their political and business interests outside of publishing instead of serving the public, is a major concern in the current context. Despite making financial losses, the media business offers disproportionate political gains and, hence, the media business cannot be understood solely in terms of profits and losses on the books or the way conventional businesses operate. The political elites, by using their power and political muscle, have inhibited news diversity and undermined the potential of the media to offer diverse perspectives on issues. The political economy of the media and convoluted media ownership is thus more complex in the Indian context than in other nations.

In my book- Political Communication and Mobilisation: The Hindi Media in India– I focus both on mobilisation for electoral politics, which has been the main concern of political scientists, as well as provide cases of grassroots mobilisation where citizens and groups from different class and caste backgrounds actively participate in mediated public arena activities. The book examines recent developments such as the movement against corruption led by Anna Hazare that propelled him and the country into world news throughout 2011 and mobilisation in the 2014 national election campaigns, and examines the interactions between traditional and social media and how they have changed the structures and dynamics of political communication in contemporary India.

Assistant Professor Taberez A Neyazi’s book, Political Communication and Mobilisation: The Hindi Media in India, is published by Cambridge University Press, and is out now.

The New Paper: NUS Communications and New Media’s Groundbreaking Module on Fake News Featured

NUS’ Department of Communications and New Media’s groundbreaking module- NM2303 Fake News, Lies and Spin: How to Sift Fact From Fiction– is featured in the New Paper.

To fight fake news, tertiary institutions have introduced lessons to help students differentiate fact from fiction. Three polytechnics and three universities told The New Paper they recently introduced courses to tackle the growing problem, which has worsened globally. This move is timely as the Government steps up its own battle against fake news…

Source: The New Paper