Authoritarian governments are believed to tolerate media exposure of malfeasant agents to hold them accountable. This line of argument is based on the strong assumption that erring agents will be duly disciplined once their malfeasance is known to their superiors. This study tests this assumption by examining how the Chinese government responds to exposed agents. It finds that media exposure conditionally contributes to the discipline of agents. Exposed agents may be punished when their malfeasance gains high publicity, especially when the malfeasance falls under the high-priority concerns of the government. Hence, while media exposure constitutes a form of third-party monitoring, the discipline of exposed agents is conditional. Copyright © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.