MC403      Half Unit
Contemporary Issues in Media and Communications Policy

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Damian Tambini TW1.8.01e


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 30 hours will be held on a weekly basis throughout Lent Term. Lectures and seminars will vary in length, with a combined total of three hours per week, to accommodate group work and various guest speakers. 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:


Freedman, Des. The Politics of Media Policy. Oxford Blackwell 2008;


V. Picard. Reopening the Postwar Settlement for U.S. Media: The Origins and Implications of the Social Contract Between Media, the State, and the Polity. Communication Culture and Critique 3 (2010) 170-189;


D Tambini and J Cowling, Eds From Public Service Broadcasting to Public Service Communications, IPPR, 2004;


S Papathanassopoulos and R Negrine (eds). Communications Policy: Theories and Issues. Palgrave Macmillan (2010).


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 BBC websites, and the website of the Leveson Inquiry.


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


See also the Country Reports and Issue Reports of the Open Society Foundation Mapping Digital Media Project; available at:


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

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 29.2
Merit 58.5
Pass 12.3
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Media & Communications

Total students 2014/15: 29

Average class size 2014/15: 57

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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