ACIAC Seminar - The Role of Australian News Media in The Coverage of International Affairs: A Case Study of “China’s Influence”


Date: Friday, 23 November 2018

Time: 1.00 - 2.00pm

Venue: EA.G.03, Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture, Parramatta Campus (South), Western Sydney University

Limited seats. RSVP Essential. Please RSVP HERE (opens in a new window) before 22 November, 2018


About the news media’s coverage of “Chinese influence”, Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said “a lot more negativity (was) presented than is actually the case”, and the Chinese embassy said that reports had been “made up out of thin air and filled with cold war mentality and ideological bias”. Does such criticism mean that the relevant reports do have problems? In response to criticism, the media stressed that their reports “served the public interest”. Is this statement true? When the media report on domestic affairs, their bias and their relationship with political powers are monitored by political parties, the public and other media. But when they intervene in international affairs, especially when nationalism becomes the dominant discourse, how do they position themselves?

This seminar explores the role of Australian media in international affairs reporting through a case study of their coverage of "Chinese influence". The study finds that their reports on "Chinese influence" are consistent with the government's stance, and interact closely with foreign policy. However, compared with the government, the attitude of the media is more radical. Under the cognitive framework of binary opposition, the media have positioned their role as the defender of national interest, but this role is established through the construction of a different and dangerous "other". This seminar further argues that the media discourse not only influences the current foreign policy and international relations, but also affects long-term public perceptions.


Dr Guifang Zhang is a Visiting Professor in the Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture (ACIAC), Western Sydney University, and also Associate Professor at Shandong University of Political Science and Law. She previously worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for ten years in the Jinan Daily Group (济南日报报业集团). Her research areas include Chinese journalism and media studies. She has published widely in these areas.