Digital Amplification of Fringe Voices: Alternative Media and Street Politics in Hong Kong
This study examined the development of alternative media in Hong Kong from 2012 to 2016. This time period saw a proliferation of media outlets that represented alternative voices. Adopting the theoretical framework of media ecology, I analyzed the political economy of the alternative media niche. The emergence of the alternative media niche was facilitated by digital technologies, but technological development was not the sole driving force. The centralization of media ownership collided the ability of mainstream media outlets to represent a wide spectrum of opinions. Meanwhile, the legitimacy of institutional politics was challenged by street politics, and hence the loosening of institutional control over ideology opened up a new space for political discussion and civic engagement. Alternative media used digital technologies to respond to this decreased supply and increased demand for media production that amplified fringe voices within the Hong Kong civil society.