I am Research Director of the Media and Communications Department, Chair of the Research Committee, Director of the Media Policy Project and convenor of the MSc in Media and Communications (Governance). I am an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and at the Oxford Internet Institute. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and serve on the Advisory Groups of: The Oxford Media Convention, Reporters Without Frontiers POLIS and the Open Rights Group. I served on the Communications Consumer Panel from 2009 - 2011.
From June 2002-August 2006 I was Head of the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at Oxford University. Before that I was at Nuffield College, Oxford (Postdoctoral Fellow, 1998) Humboldt University, Berlin (lecturer, 1997) and the European University Institute, Florence, Italy (PhD 1996). My research interests include media and telecommunications policy and democratic communication. I co-edited 'Cyberdemocracy' (Routledge 1998) and 'Citizenship, Markets, and the State' (Oxford University Press 2000). Other co-authored publications include: 'Nationalism in Italian Politics' (Routledge 2001), 'Collective Identities in Action: Theories of Ethnic Conflict' (Ashgate, September 2002); 'New News: Impartial Broadcasting in the Digital Age' (edited by D. Tambini and J. Cowling, IPPR 2002) and 'Privacy and the Media' (IPPR, December 2003). In January 2008 I published a book on media self regulation called 'Codifying Cyberspace' (Tambini, Leonardi and Marsden).
My recent work addresses a range of current issues in media law and policy. Much of this research has been applied, on projects funded by government and by international organizations, and I have been actively involved in policy debates on new media in recent years. Behind the individual projects listed below have been long-standing normative and methodological concerns of media studies in the social and political sciences: in particular the social integrative role of media in complex societies, and the public sphere.
Financial Journalism. Ethics and regulation in a changing media environment. In 2007 I was awarded a research development grand from the LSE research seed fund, to conduct a research project on Financial Journalism under the auspices of POLIS, the LSE media and society think tank. This has led to the publication of several journal articles and book chapters, for example:
Tambini, Damian (2008)What is financial journalism for?: ethics and responsibility in a time of crisis and change. POLIS, London School of Economics and Political Science, London.
Regulation and media accountability. My research since the 1990's has examined the role of (i) independent regulatory agencies such as Ofcom and it's predecessors, and (ii) self-regulatory bodies in enforcing codes of conduct and applying various forms of public interest regulation on communication providers. In relation to (i) the co-authored chapter on regulatory reform in my 1999 book outlined the case for the model of the converged regulator Ofcom which was established in 2003. This was neither the first nor the only proposal for Ofcom, but it outlined some new responses to then current objections. (ii) In the EU, the notion of communications self-regulation was widely promoted during the late 1990's as a response to the new proliferation of communications services.
My research, published in a report to the European Commission in 2004, several newspaper articles and blogs, a 2008 co-authored book and many presentations to government and stakeholders in the period 1999-2007, made 2 principle points. First, that self-regulation will only work where the correct incentives are in place (building on theories of enlightened self-interest) and second, that principled support for communications self-regulation based on the notion of freedom of expression need to be re-assessed in the light of privatised censorship. This was outlined in a report to the EC detailing findings of a 2 year pan-European study of self-regulation in converging media sectors. A book on the same topic was published by Routledge in 2008. I returned to these themes during the debate surrounding press regulation during the Leveson Inquiry in 2012, collaborating with colleagues to publish LSE Media Policy Brief #6: "Reforming the PCC. Lessons From Abroad".
Tambini, Damian and Leonardi, Danilo and Marsden, Chris (2008) The privatisation of censorship: self regulation and freedom of expression. In: Tambini, Damian and Leonardi, Danilo and Marsden, Chris, Codifying cyberspace: communications self-regulation in the age of internet convergence. Routledge / UCL Press, Abingdon, UK., pp 269-289.
Intellectual Property and the Public Domain. Between 2002 and 2005, I was the project lead for the Creative Commons in the UK. This project (www.creativecommons.org) develops innovative intellectual property frameworks for those that want to share, remix and redistribute digital content, and my role was to introduce the framework to the UK and supervise the transposition of CC licenses under UK law. I was commissioned by the European Broadcasting Union to write a book chapter outlining the copyright challenges faced by public broadcasters, and have been appointed to serve on the advisory group of the Creative Archive Licence Group.
Content Regulation. During 2000-2001, I was appointed by UK Ministers to advise on the Communications White Paper, the document defining policy for the 2003 Communications Act. In particular, I was asked to write a paper on content regulation, which focuses mainly on television. http://www.communicationsact.gov.uk/
Digital Broadcasting. In December 2005 I submitted written evidence in response to an invitation from the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee. This advice, which I wrote in collaboration with colleagues, compares UK policy with that of other European countries, Japan and with the US. This paper has been accepted for publication in the journal Info.
Public Broadcasting. In January 2004 I published a co-edited volume of essays discussing challenges for public service broadcasting. A peer-reviewed journal article on the same theme was published later in the year. During 2005 and again since January 2006, I have served as consultant to UK regulator Ofcom advising on the measurement of the public value of broadcasting. In June 2008 I was invited to act as an expert Rapporteur when the French EU Presidency held a conference to review a new EC Communication on Public Service Broadcasting.
Competition and Media Pluralism.
The dominant approach to media policy in the past two decades has stressed the role of competition in the allocation of resources. In a series of publications, I have examined the limitations of such a view in relation to: consumer transparency and switching (http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/43054/
) and argued that the particular features of communications markets (low switching rates and low consumer understanding) create a clear justification for a sector specific consumer champion. Media Policy Project Policy Brief 4
. I have also examined the role of media ownership rules in promoting media pluralism, publishing several co-authored articles in 2012, including "Measuring Media Plurality in the UK". Journal of Media Law 4(1) 2012 and "Regulating Media Plurality and Media Power in the 21st Century". (LSE Media Policy Project Policy Brief #7).
My assumption is that through the study of rules, such as law, codes of practice and licences, it is possible to gain new insight into current transformations of the nature and extent of the public sphere.
Books and Edited Collections
Download Damian's CV (in PDF format) for a full list of publications.