All Countries throughout the world have their own limitations of media mostly relying on politics and cultures. This is the reason why each country uses a different limitation. So, we are comparing and discussing through the audience theory between the greatest two countries of the world: People’s Republic of China versus the United States of America.


China has a large amount of Big Data so that everything is in the Chinese government’s eyes. They know every step of their citizens, including you, means when you are in China. Foreign media are not allowed in most areas in theirs; even this country is gradually moving towards more democracy value, there are still some parts of a communist. Including China is one of the highest level of technology countries in the world so the Chinese government is kind enough to permit their citizens plus long-staying foreigners to use their own media and applications for shopping, searching or communication. For example, WeChat, Alipay, Taobao; eCommerce application used on a C2C (consumer-to-consumer) like eBay or amazon, Baidut; the biggest search engine in China.

Chinese government  monitors and creates censorship for all types of media: radio, film, television, games, and especially the Internet which is capable of reaching a large amount of audience. Chinese people seem to be a passive audience. To paraphrase, passive audience means audiences have no choice to decide which media they desire to consume or not. Their rights are related to the government’s action as ‘Top down’ theories of media influence. 

The government more strictly suppresses the Internet users after a population of more than one million, stubbornly using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. China needs to separate their citizens from the outside world by “Great Firewall” which is the center of the government’s online censorship and surveillance effort. Its methods include bandwidth throttling, keyword filtering, and  blocking access to certain websites such as Youtube, Twitter or Google. But! These populations are not discouraged, therefore trying to find other aspects to access various applications and media. “VPNs”,Virtual Private Networks, have become a chance for connecting to the Internet with other countries as Chinese security department found the network is hard to control, created for security. There are encoded connections – special code for connection between users’ computers in China with a server outside of China, which puts the user out of control of the dictatorial regime and more hard to track the address account. NordVPN, ExpressVPN or PrivateVPN are examples of useful VPNs in China. There are different benefits or highlights in each other depending on what kind of applications and media that users need to access. Although VPNs help us be able to enter western applications and media, users have to pay for downloading VPNs and while using them though VPNs lead to a little bit of slow processing data.

Talking about Pros and Cons, the limitation media in China leads to protection inside significant information is not going to spill the beans to international countries. Moreover, there is less intervention between domesticity and internationalisation , less argument among citizens because everyone will follow the same aspects. On the other hand, Unless they gain new knowledge from outside, they might not have enough capability to improve their idea for doing research or manufacturing even competitively with other great countries.


On the internet society people are anonymous, it is difficult to track down for someone or to confirm his or her identity. The internet also gives you freedom of expression since you are unknown. You can type what you feel, post what you want, and share what you satisfy. The Internet from day one until now, has been changing a lot. People used to adapt the internet for industry or workplace and it spread out for school, library, and our houses. This influence made people use the internet as a daily routine, as if the internet is another part of our bodies. To communicate, update, and exchange information, it is easier to do any of those three things these days due to the internet with mobile devices.

In the United States, 89% of the population are internet users. It shows that the world of screens is getting bigger and bigger. While in China, Syria, and Iran that FOTN (freedom on the net) is so little because of the sustainability of the country and the regime.

(source of FOTN and source of internet user population North America Internet Usage Statistics, Population and Telecommunications Reports )

Based on the information from the poll, in North America there are low limitations of the internet using, so people can freely access the internet. You can see that most of the popular applications and sites are from American people such as Facebook from Mark Zuckerberk, Google from Larry Page and Zergey Brin. When people are not framed by rules, they get more creativity and opportunities to do things and reach out for new things faster than others.

Talking about behavior of Americans on social media, YouTube is the most popular site for all ages, followed by Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter. American people tend to like watching videos in their free time, therefore the number of audiences on TV are decreasing when they have the internet. Not only for social media that has been developed but also for medical, education, cultural, and technology. It shows that the online world really affects the offline world and the way people live nowadays. But when you gain freedom on the net, you also lose your privacy and security. There are several cases from the USA about people who got bullied or exposed their personal information that most of the time, they were the one who shared information and got the consequences that caused them harm.  

When there are loose limitations of internet access in the United States, people are likely to forget how important it is to respect others and keep on track. For example, the cyber bullying case of Taylor Swift, a popular singer who got bullied on social media about the song that Kanye West wrote and there’s her name in it but in a sexual way and also disrespect her, somehow most of the people saw that there was a video of Kanye talking on the phone with Taylor about him asking for her permission to use her name but there’s no details about what part her name will be in the song. So the drama began, people thought Taylor lied and she lost so many fans and also got insulted with a hashtag on twitter #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty which made her disappear for years. In my opinion, freedom of speech and internet is scary since you will never think of the one who got blamed or made fun of, when internet is fast and permanent you should think twice and make sure you get the right information before saying bad things to others because it caused both physical and mental harm and I don’t want other people to face what Taylor Swift did which should not happen to her because of the misunderstanding through online media. 

Therefore, every coin has two sides, the internet world can bring us convenience, information, and inventions to develop ourselves,community,country, and the world. And people also should be aware of how to have your own limitations when the country gives you freedom like this so that you won’t harm anyone and live peacefully, use the best out of the internet, learn how to differentiate reality and fake news, learn more about how to use media because we’re different so we need to be on the same page, be the good internet users to show other countries that without the limitation people can control themselves and things will be better than the time they got limited.

Pros and Cons

To get on the same page, these two contradictory limitations can be clearly seen that their media behaviors are based on their law which leads to confine their use. However, it is undeniable that it has both the advantages and disadvantages of the limitation.
To compare with the audience theory, China is relating to the hypodermic needle theory which is one-way communication. To be more clear, it suggests that media messages are injected directly into the brains of passive audiences which the audience can only observe the message not respond to. As we know that China’s government is so serious about the censorship issue, they have a gatekeeper, Great Firewall, to control and select the content for Chinese people. Moreover, politics is the main reason why the government becomes a part of the media. The government tries to keep their audience in one voice so they decide to feed only the selected source for keeping citizens in the line. Also, Censorship guidelines are circulated every week from the Communist Party’s propaganda department and the government’s Bureau of Internet Affairs to prominent editors and media providers. Nonetheless, the strict limitation forwards citizens to discover other tools to access others not just inside their country. Then, the Chinese have found Virtual Private Networks, VPNs, which is a hard approach by the government so many people apply it to decrease their limitations. As the above information, the 

Chinese government is using the hypodermic needle theory to their citizens. They only provide the information that they desire citizens to believe whether it is true or not. Additionally, the Chinese are like passive audiences who are incapable of selecting their desired content because they can only receive the information but can’t react to it.

The United states media limitation is conforming to the uses and gratification theory and active audience. As the United States is a free country, citizens are allowed to consume media with no limitation. Citizens are the ones who choose to go through their favorite channels or contents thus it means they are active in the audience. Furthermore, they can express their opinion on every issue including politics; contrary to China. Based on the Reporters Without BordersPress Freedom Index, the U.S. ranked 45th in 2018 even though the United states’s rank is not in the Top 20 as it was it still ranks ahead of most Asia including China. However, the more limitless the media, the more uncontrollable. Since there is no restriction about using the media citizens are using it both in positive and negative ways. Obviously, there are highly inappropriate behaviors that utilize the media to bully, blackmail or track others down. It’s true that the U.S. is an independent country but when there is no limitation of media it will be so difficult to control or create respectability among the citizens. In this situation, citizens are the active audience thus they can be involved in the media context meaning they can create or respond to that content. Moreover, they will decode the message in their ways because every person has a different background: family, culture, belief or knowledge so the citizens will find it hard to persuade. The active audience theory is not the only theory that we found in the United States we also found the uses and gratification theory as well. Due to the various platforms, citizens have the alternative choice to access information such as social media, television programs, and printed media. Citizens can choose what they are satisfied with and needs to achieve gratification. For example, one who is interested in travel so one will prefer to watch the vlog from travelers via Youtube; on the other hand, one who desires other stuff will not choose to watch the traveling content. By these, it illustrates the power of the audience for selecting the media which is called uses and gratification.

By Raveekorn Thanthada, Dapattarika Sukhavat, Naphat Lertasadamongkol