MC417      Half Unit
Democracy and the Media

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Bart Cammaerts STC. S213


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Politics and Communication. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This course examines the links between the media and democracy in theory and practice. The range of issues examined include: theories of democracy and the obligations of media; issues of press freedom and the limits to free speech; media and elections; media and public policy; the Internet and political participation; reporting in the digital age; media in an international context and the relationship between the media and social movements. This course discusses the role assumed by the media in both long-established democratic societies and in new and emerging democracies.


6 hours of lectures and 6 hours of seminars in the MT. 1 hour of lectures in the ST.

8 hours of student-presented case study classes in MT.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to complete advance reading, prepare seminar presentations, and submit one essay of 1,500 words.

Indicative reading

J. Curran Media and Power, London: Routledge, 2002; R. Gunther & A. Mughan, Democracy and the Media: A comparative perspective, CUP, 2000; D Hallin & P Mancini, Comparing Media Systems, CUP, 2003; R. Hackett and Y. Zhao (Ed) Democratizing global media: one world, many struggles, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005; D. Held, Models of Democracy, 3rd edn, Cambridge: Polity, 2006; H Jenkins and D Thorburn, Democracy and the New Media, MIT, 2003; Negrine, R. The Transformation of Political Communication Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008; Susan Pharr and R Putnam, Disaffected Democracies, 2000; P. H. Smith Democracy in Latin America: political change in comparative perspective, New York: Oxford University Press, 2005; M. Scammell and H. Semetko, Media, Journalism and Democracy: A Reader, Ashgate, 2000; B. Cammaerts and N. Carpentier (Eds) Reclaiming the Media: communication rights and democratic media roles, ECREA book series, Bristol: Intellect 2007. B. Cammaerts, A., Matoni and P. McCurdy (eds) Mediation and Protest Movements. Bristol: Intellect, 2013.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Teachers' comment

This course examines the relationship between democracy and the media from a variety of angles addressing democratic theory, freedom of speech, elections, social movements, media power and emerging democracies.

Students' comments 

"It is helpful to go into depths of these issues. It is also great to communicate in such a pluralistic class with different identities and listen to everyone's views."

Key facts

Department: Media & Communications

Total students 2012/13: 31

Average class size 2012/13: 16

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills