This book focuses on Australian mainstream media narratives about the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) from 2013 to 2020. Set against the background of Sino-Australian relations and taking into account the different media systems of China and Australia, this book also critically investigates the Chinese public diplomacy narratives of the BRI. Drawing on my analysis and semi-structured interviews with prominent experts in this area, the book addresses an important but under-explored question: how have Australian mainstream media narratives portrayed the BRI of the Chinese Government from 2013 to 2020?
This book fills a gap regarding the portrayal of the BRI in Australian mainstream media and provides new insights into the reasons for narrative shifts in the coverage of the BRI. More concretely, the book finds that the public diplomacy narratives of the BRI were not explained well by Chinese officials, thus allowing Australian journalists and commentators to project their own negative, fearful narratives of China onto the BRI project, particularly from 2017 onwards. More importantly, this book argues that the Australian Federal Government’s policy towards China had a significant impact on the Australian media’s coverage of the BRI; that the media clearly followed the Australian Federal Government’s lead, and not vice versa. Thus, in many ways, Australian mainstream media narratives of the BRI have had a similar outcome as China’s ostensibly much more restrictive and propagandistic state-dominated media system.
Noticeably, this book not only has academic significance in the international research community but also holds practical importance in the real world, benefiting Australian business leaders, media professionals, think tank specialists, and policymakers.
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