Daniela Stockmann awarded Goldsmith Book Prize

Leiden University political scientist Daniela Stockmann has been awarded the 2015 Goldsmith Book Prize for best academic book in the field of media, politics, and public policy. Stockmann's 'Media Commercialization and Authoritarian Rule in China' (Cambridge University Press, 2013) was acknowledged as 'one of the most important ever to get the Goldsmith Award.'

China's commercial media support, rather than challenge, authoritarianism

The annual Goldsmith Awards Ceremony was held on 3 March 2015 at the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University. On behalf of the jury, Thomas Patterson, Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press, stated that 'China's news media today look nothing like they did during the Cultural Revolution.' Stockmann's book is about the political implications of media liberalisation in China, explained Patterson, and offers both a thorough analysis and 'counter-intuitive' findings.

Commercial, not state-owned, media are booming in China. They are economically viable, and they are trusted by the public. In their coverage of everyday life, China's commercial media often choose a rather autonomous approach. When it comes to politics, however, they make sure to follow the official Communist Party line.

Stockmann, employing different research methods (in-depth interviews, content analysis, and survey data), found that self-censorship is still a major factor in Chinese journalism. Contrary to what is often assumed, in the Chinese case, market liberalisation does not automatically destabilise the authoritarian regime or foster democratisation. In fact, Stockmann concludes, China's non-state media promote regime stability.


Intersection between media, politics, and public policy

The Goldsmith Book Prize is an initiative of the Shorenstein Center of the Harvard Kennedy School. It is awarded since 1991 to the academic and trade books that best fulfill the objective of improving democratic governance through an examination of the intersection between the media, politics and public policy.

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Last Modified: 12-03-2015