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This paper explores the news trustworthiness and media credibility of The Economist’s news report on 9 July 2009, and the communicative roles of 846 readers’ responses. Theoretically guided by news translation and cultural resistance and the online public sphere, we applied online field observation and discourse analysis and achieved two main findings: First, although the news report covered the Xinjiang riots with comprehensive and attractive details, it violated the core journalism value of media credibility and journalistic objectivity by providing misleading pictures and significant unreliable and biased coverage. Second, the major communicative roles of the online readers’ responses generally match Dahlberg’s six conditions of an ideal online public sphere, which is still challenging but promising to realize.

New paper: Testing news trustworthiness in an online public sphere: a case study of The Economist’s news report covering the riots in Xinjiang, China.

This paper explores the news trustworthiness and media credibility of The Economist’s news report on 9 July 2009, and the communicative roles of 846 readers’ responses. Theoretically guided by news translation and cultural resistance and the online public sphere, we applied online field observation and discourse analysis and achieved two main findings: First, although the news report covered the Xinjiang riots with comprehensive and attractive details, it violated the core journalism value of media credibility and journalistic objectivity by providing misleading pictures and significant unreliable and biased coverage. Second, the major communicative roles of the online readers’ responses generally match Dahlberg’s six conditions of an ideal online public sphere, which is still challenging but promising to realize.

New paper: Testing news trustworthiness in an online public sphere: a case study of The Economist’s news report covering the riots in Xinjiang, China.

[Cross-posted from the WITNESS Hub Blog.]

Xinhua is reporting that more than 150 people have died in the clashes in Urumqi since 5th July, and more than 1,000 have been injured.

Riot police have been deployed to quell the protests, which began over the perceived mishandling by local authorities of a fight at a toy factory (listen to this overview from The Guardian’s Jonathan Watts) – today they dispersed protests both by Uighur women demanding the release of young Uighur men, and by Han Chinese men wielding weapons.  The Guardian’s Dan Chung and Tania Branigan were on a media tour organised by the Chinese authorities when they came across the Uighur women’s protest – click the image below to watch their video report.

Xinjiang protests

Over the course of today, we’ll point to key bits of analysis and footage coming out of Xinjiang (in addition to the sources I pointed to on Sunday – notably ESWN is compiling a lot of sources, and The Guardian’s got a good round-up of web-based coverage).  Here’s a note of interest about China’s information suppression strategy from the NYT today:

Internally, censors tightly controlled media coverage of the unrest and sought to disable the social networks that opponents might use to organize more demonstrations. Cellphone calls to Urumqi and nearby areas have largely been blocked. Twitter was shut down nationwide at midday Monday; a Chinese equivalent, Fanfou, was running, but Urumqi-related searches were blocked.

Chinese search engines no longer give replies for searches related to the violence. Results of a Google search on Monday for “Xinjiang rioting” turned up many links that had already been deleted on such well-trafficked Chinese Internet forums as Mop and Tianya.

BBCAccounts of Xinjiang violence |   Q+A on China and the Uighur minority |  Images of today’s protests

NYTNew protests in Western China after deadly clashes |  Photo sildeshow |   More about China’s Uighur minority |  Media tour goes very, very badly for the Chinese authorities

Protests outside Chinese embassiesNorway |  Turkey |  Germany |  Netherlands

 

[Cross-posted from the WITNESS Hub Blog.]

Several media have reported violent clashes in the city of Urumqi between Uyghurs and Han Chinese (see NYTThe TimesBBC) – and now BBC Chinese is reporting that Urumqi is today under curfew.  Urumqi is in the historically Muslim region of Xinjiang, currently being referred to in the MSM as “restive”, and one of the poorest regions in China (here’s some analysis of a recent Asian Development Bank loan to the region to improve infrastructure).  These riots seem to have been sparked by a smaller dispute between Han Chinese and Uyghur workers at a local toy factory.

Some mobile phone video showing large crowds gathering in Urumqi has found its way onto YouTube, Uyghur.tv, and it’s now on the Hub.  There’s also one possibly relevant image on Flickr tagged Urumqi from today, and a couple more via a Twitpic user.  As more video gets out, we’ll keep posting it here.  In the meantime, you can follow developments via these groups, in addition to the media sources above:

● Uyghur American Association
● Uyghur Human Rights Project
● International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation

Here are the words for Urumqi (乌鲁木齐) and riots (暴动) to help in your Chinese-language video searches…

And these Uyghur-focused blogs:
● http://memettohti.blogspot.com/
● Sue Sue San
● Transnational Middle East Observer – on the Turkish president’s visit to Urumqi a week ago

Finally, here’s a bit of background on another Uyghur-related controversy, the demolition (from reading the reports, one might say “Haussmannisation”) of the Old City part of Kashgar, another city in Xinjiang:

● Danwei
● Carl Cassegard