Research Articles

A Political Economy of News Media in the People’s Republic of China



This article analyses the political economy of news media production in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) using Herman and Chomsky’s Propaganda Model. This method contains two aspects: (1) an examination of the effects that a capitalist base has on news media in the transitioning system of the PRC, and (2) a study of the utility of the Propaganda Model’s dimensions for use in comparative media research. The article finds that the differing political systems of the USA and the PRC do not lead to completely different media systems. The largest differences are found to be only in the civil society sphere and in the repression of PRC journalists. The capitalist base of the media system, however, causes many commonalities, such as pro-capitalist ideology, the influence of advertisers and constraints on sourcing, while a transition towards a US-style system, in professionalization, corporatization, secularization and conglomeratization, can be found in its embryonic stages.

Keywords: transitioning media systems, Propaganda Model, political economy, Herman, Chomsky, Chinese news media

How to Cite: Hearns-Branaman, J. (2017) “A Political Economy of News Media in the People’s Republic of China”, Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture. 6(2). doi: