The Internet and Agenda Setting in China: The Influence of Online Public Opinion on Media Coverage and Government Policy
Within the theoretical framework of agenda setting, this study examined whether and how online public opinion influences the issue agendas of the traditional media and the government at the national level in the Chinese context. The data showed that online public opinion did not have an agenda-setting effect on the government, whereas the government could set the online public agenda on some occasions. Bidirectional agenda-setting influences were found between the online public agenda and the traditional media agenda. Overall, the evidence in this study suggests that online public opinion has become a competing agenda-setting force in contemporary China.