MC403      Half Unit
Contemporary Issues in Media and Communications Policy

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Damian Tambini TW2.7.01J


This course is available on the MPA in European Public and Economic Policy, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and Fudan), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and USC), MSc in Media and Communications, MSc in Media and Communications (Data and Society), MSc in Media and Communications (Media and Communications Governance), MSc in Media and Communications (Research) and MSc in Politics and Communication. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course will be particularly beneficial to students with some background knowledge of media policy, regulation and governance. Participants are advised to discuss with the course teachers if they have not taken course MC424 or equivalent, or if they do not have relevant professional experience.

Preparation for the course could include:

  • Seeking additional reading in discussion with course teachers, or
  • Auditing MC424 course materials and lectures from Moodle.

In order to accommodate academic staff research leave and sabbaticals, and in order to maintain smaller seminar group sizes, this course is capped, meaning that there is a limit to the number of students who can be accepted. Whist we do our best to accommodate all requests, we cannot guarantee you a place on this course.

Course content

This course examines live issues in broadcasting, press and telecommunications policy with a focus on current debates and an innovative format that permits longer seminar discussion, practical exercises in policy engagement and guest speakers who are active in media policy. The aim will be to develop a practical approach to current debates at the same time referring to the longer term normative and theoretical background to intervention in this sector. After the first session, discussion will focus on a current issue each week, and the reading contains items relating to that issue. There may be some changes to the order of the sessions depending on availability of high profile guest speakers, and supplementary readings may be advised during seminars or by email. Students will be encouraged to debate current policy issues including those the regulators and the government are currently consulting on, and develop a critical understanding of policy intervention, the policy process and strategy.


Lectures and seminars totalling 20 hours will be held on a weekly basis throughout Lent Term. Seminars may be given by different teachers. They will not necessarily deal with the same topics each week, but they all cover the same ground.

Formative coursework

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

Indicative reading

A reading list will be provided for each topic. General works relevant to the course include:

Baker, C.E. (2006). Democracy at a crossroads: Why ownership matters. In Media concentration and democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 5-53.

Brown, I. (2015). The economics of privacy, data protection and surveillance. In J. M. Bauer (Ed.), Handbook on the Economics of the Internet. Cheltenham: Elgar.

Gangadharan, S. P. (2013). Toward a deliberative standard: Rethinking participation in policymaking. Communication, Culture & Critique, 6(1), 1-19.

Mansell, R. & Raboy, M. (Eds.) (2011). The handbook of global media and communication policy. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Papathanassopoulos, S., & Negrine, R. M. (2011). Europeanizing the Media of Europe. In European media: Structures, policies and identity (pp. 63–83). Cambridge: Polity Press.

Pasquale, F., & Citron, D.K. (2014). Promoting innovation while preventing discrimination: Policy goals for the scored society. Washington Law Review, 89(4), 1413-1424.

Raymond, M., & DeNardis, L. (2015, November). Multistakeholderism: anatomy of an inchoate global institution. International Theory, 7(3), 572-616.

Shtern, J., Landry, N., & Raboy, M. (2012). The least imperfect form of global governance yet? Multi-stakeholder governance of communication. In D. Frau-Meigs (Ed.), From NWICO to WSIS 30 years of communication geopolitics : actors and flows, structures and divides (pp. 187–198). Bristol, UK: Intellect Books.

Tambini, D. (2015). Five theses on public media and digitalization: From a 56-country study. International Journal of Communication, 5, 1400-1424.

van Schewick, B. (2015). Network neutrality and quality of service: What a non-discrimination rule should look like. Stanford Law Review, 67(1), 1–26.

Journals such as Media, Culture, and Society, New Media and Society, Info, and Telecommunications Policy. The European Information Society portal as well as the OECD, OfCOM, and FCC.

The blog of the LSE Media Policy Project serves as a companion to the course material. Students are encouraged to comment and potentially to author for this blog, which is edited by the course teachers.


Essay (100%, 3500 words) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 28.4
Merit 55.4
Pass 16.2
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Media & Communications

Total students 2015/16: 32

Average class size 2015/16: 16

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Lecture capture used 2015/16: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills