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

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Ms Claire Milne


This course is available on the 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 (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. 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.


Background similar to completion of MC424 is desirable but not essential.

Course content

This course will examine communication policies and their relationship with society and development, focusing on information and communication technologies (ICT), including internet and mobile services. It will draw critical attention to 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  in a context of rapid change. The course will draw on the teachers’ broad experience in communications development and deployment around the world, focusing on the Global South. Case study countries will reflect students’ interests, and are likely to include some from South Asia and East Africa.  Course objectives are: to examine the relationship between ICT/media policy and wider public policy domains; to explore the development and regulation of communications in countries at all stages of economic and social development, which we regard as a continuum; to understand current experience and the application of policy development and research methods in these areas; and to illustrate these issues from practical experience.


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

International Telecommunication Union, 2014. Measuring the Information Society;

Jørgensen, Rikke Frank (ed), 2006. Human Rights in the Global Information Society, MIT;

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;

UNICEF 2010, Mobiles for Development;

Milward-Oliver, Gerard (ed), 2005. Maitland+20: Fixing the Missing Link. Anima Centre;

The Climate Group, 2012. SMARTer 2020, Global E-Sustainability Initiative;

WSIS+10 outcome documents, 2014;

Unwin, Tim (ed.), 2009. ICT4D, Cambridge University Press.


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

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 18.4
Merit 43.7
Pass 35.6
Fail 2.3

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 2014/15: 12

Average class size 2014/15: 11

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Lecture capture used 2014/15: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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