One may ask of the significance of Sina Weibo in train collision in Wuhan since the conventional media could still have reported on the issue. The answer to this rests on two rationales. First, the rate at which the news of the accident reached the public was much quicker than could have been managed by the conventional media streams. This is because a significant number of journalists have accounts on Sina Weibo. As such, they receive their information and sources for stories via the same. Only the Weibo could and still manage to public such nation altering events.
The second rationale is, hinged on the restrictions and control the government has on the conventional media. The mainstream media cannot contravene the laws and wishes set by the Chinese government. As such, the Chinese people only hear what the government wants them to believe. The action by the government, in the wake of the accident, confirms this assertion. The government sent a memo to CCTV and other media outlets on the guidelines for reporting on the accident. These guidelines restricted mainstream media from reporting on the actualities of the accident.
Additionally, it prevented media outlets from carrying out their own investigations of the cause of the accident. These restrictions are a more common action by the government in curtailing the freedom of media in China. These actions, however, are not potent in the context of Weibo. So far, there is currently no avenue, through which the government can restrict free speech on the Weibo. As such, Sina Weibo is much more powerful in comparison to mainstream media. In knowing this, significance of Sina Weibo in reporting and seeking government action in the wake of the accident cannot be, downplayed.
It is clear that, if it were not for the public outcry, the anger that was, enabled by Sina Weibo the consequences of the accident could not have been felt by the government.
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