Exploring Media Panic Discourses: News Media Attitudes toward Digital Games in China

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Medier och kommunikation

Abstract: Previous research demonstrated the phenomenon of moral panics on “dangerous” games mostly from Western perspectives, regarding media violence and deviant behaviour. With the development of media technology, the term “media panic” has evolved from moral panic, representing the debates and fearful emotion from the public when a new media technology has been created. Digital games as a form of media technology have been developed to be widely played on various platforms in recent decades, which have not only brought concerns to the Western but also to Chinese society. The present study will introduce media panic on digital games in China by analyzing news reports from three Chinese mainstream news media: People’s Daily, Xinhua Daily Telegraph and Wen Wei Po (Shanghai). Content analysis will be adopted as the main method to process the news data (N = 445) which are collected from five periods between 2002 and 2020 (2002-2004, 2007-2009, 2012-2014, 2017-2019, 2020). Different phases and features of the panic will be analyzed through the classical moral panic theories of Cohen, Goode and Ben-Yehuda, and the media panic theory of Drotner. Topics of game addiction, Internet cafes, policies on the game industry, cultural innovation, development of esports will be explored when investigating the changing media attitudes toward digital games in the Chinese context. 

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