MC405      Half Unit
Current issues in Media and Communications: Policies for ICTs, Society and Development

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Ms Claire Milne


This course is available on the MSc in Media and Communications, MSc in Media and Communications (Media and Communications Governance), MSc in Media and Communications (Research) and MSc in Media, Communication and Development. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Priority will be given to students on other programmes in the Media and Communications department.

Course content

This course will examine communication policies and their relationship with society and development, focusing particularly on the application of information and communication technologies, especially the internet and mobile services. It will draw attention to some issues of critical importance in current ICT policymaking, including the relationship between the ICT sector and other areas of public policy (such as development, governance, the environment and rights) and the relationships among technology, market development and regulation. The course will draw on case studies and the lecturers' practitioner experience in communications development and deployment in Europe, Africa and Asia. Course objectives are: to examine the relationship between ICT policy and wider public policy domains; to explore the development and regulation of communications in industrial and developing countries; to understand current experience and the application of policy development and research methods in these areas; and to illustrate these issues, using case studies.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to complete advance reading, prepare seminar presentations, and submit one formative essay of 1,500 words which differs from the topic addressed by the summative essay.

Indicative reading

Drake, William J. & Wildon, Ernest J. III (eds), 2008. Governing Global Electronic Networks, MIT Press; International Telecommunication Union, 2011. Measuring the Information Society; Jørgensen, Rikke Frank (ed), 2006. Human Rights in the Global Information Society, MIT; King, Kenneth & McGrath, Simon, 2004. Knowledge for Development, HSRC Press and Zed Books; MacLean, Don (ed), 2005. Internet Governance: a Grand Collaboration, United Nations; Mahan, Amy and Melody, William (eds), 2007. Diversifying Participation in Network Development. IDRC, Uruguay; Mansell, Robin & Wehn, Ute, 1998. Knowledge Societies: Information Technology for Sustainable Development, OUP for United Nations; Milne, Claire and Feijoo-Gonzalez, Claudio (eds), 2008. Info Volume 10 Issue 5. Special Issue: Re-thinking universal service policy for the digital era; Infodev 2011, Telecommunications Regulation Handbook; UNICEF 2010, Mobiles for Development; Milward-Oliver, Gerard (ed), 2005. Maitland+20: Fixing the Missing Link. Anima Centre; The Climate Group, 2008. SMART 2020, Global E-Sustainability Initiative; Torero, Maximo and von Braun, Joachim (eds), 2006. Information and Communication Technologies for Development and Poverty Reduction: The Potential of Telecommunications. International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC, Johns Hopkins University Press; United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development, 2011. Implementing WSIS Outcomes: Experience to Date and Prospects for the Future, UNCTAD; Unwin, Tim (ed.), 2009. ICT4D, Cambridge University Press.


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the ST.

To be submitted in week 2 of the Summer Term.

Teachers' comment

This course considers how conflicting interests are handled in policymaking for communications (focusing on internet and mobile phones); and the outcomes of these often messy processes, looking both inwards to how the sector works, and outwards to how it affects society and development.

Students' comments

"I was very pleased with the practical approach to the course content and the critical look on real situations when the underlying theory does not operate perfectly. I thought the interactivity of the seminars was excellent."

Key facts

Department: Media & Communications

Total students 2012/13: 25

Average class size 2012/13: 12

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness