FHSU professor, others find Chinese media softening attitude toward religion

An assistant professor or communication studies at Fort Hays State University, Dr. Qingjiang Yao, and two colleagues at other universities have collaborated on an article noting an increasingly positive view of religion in Chinese media.

"China's Official Media Portrayal of Religion (1996-2005): Policy Change in a Desecularizing Society" was published in the first quarter's edition of the Journal of Media and Religion (Vol. 10, No. 1). It was also presented at the annual convention of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

The analysis of coverage of religion by the People’s Daily, China's top official media organ, from 1996-2005 found a change in the tone of coverage after a speech of Jiang Zemin, then China's president, in 2001. Jiang publicly acknowledged religions as a stabilizing force of socialism in China and an important component of Chinese society. The speech marked an open departure from the long-term policy of Chinese Communist Party of eliminating religion, a policy established since the Mao Era. The study shows that the number of stories on religions in the newspaper is also increasing.
The study was conducted by Yao and Dr. Dan Stout, University of Nevada in Las Vegas, and Zhaoxi Liu, University of Iowa-Iowa City. The article can also be viewed at http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a933627811~db=all~jumptype=rss.

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