MC424      Half Unit
Media and Communication Governance

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Seeta Peña Gangadharan FAW 7.01I


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Media and Communications (Media and Communications Governance). This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in Data, Networks and Society. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This course begins from the assumption that media and communication can only be fully understood if their governance and its implications for citizens and consumers, as well as producers and providers, are understood. Communication governance includes all attempts by public bodies to fund, licence or otherwise regulate or govern communication services or the providers of those services, usually for an alleged public benefit. The term 'governance' refers to the norms, rules and resources together with their theoretical underpinnings that inform the production and consumption of media and communication services. This course provides students with core theoretical perspectives and concepts required to critically analyse both the substance and processes of media and communication governance. Students will compare different rationales used to justify regulation of media and communication services. Students will also develop an understanding of regulatory instruments, institutional arrangements and institutional practices that help public authorities, corporations, citizens and consumers decide how to allocate public resources for the provision of such services. Illustrations are drawn from national and international contexts, thereby presenting a multi-levelled analytical approach to governance issues in the field.

Some of the questions addressed in this course include: Under what conditions should platforms be governed? Are industry professionals or regulators best positioned to determine when broadcasting institutions adequately serve the diverse information needs of a population? To what extent should legacy media laws and policies be relaxed in the light of technological change? In what ways can 5G providers serve the public interest? These and other questions reflect the course’s focus on developing a critical, informed and authoritative account of ‘why’, ‘who’, and ‘how to’ govern media and communication services.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT. 1 hour of lectures in the ST.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to complete advance reading, participate in seminar activities and contribute to online discussion on Moodle. Students are also expected to complete an oral exam in MT.

Indicative reading

  • Bannerman, S., & Haggart, B. (2015). Historical institutionalism in communication studies. Communication Theory, 25(1), 1–22.
  • Epstein, D., Katzenbach, C., & Musiani, F. (2016). Doing internet governance: Practices, controversies, infrastructures, and institutions. Internet Policy Review, 5(3).
  • Flyverbom, M., Deibert, R., & Matten, D. (2019). The governance of digital technology, Big data, and the internet: New roles and responsibilities for business. Business & Society,  58(1), 3–19.
  • Freedman, D. (2008). Dynamics of the media policymaking process. In The politics of media policy (p. 1-53). Malden, MA: Polity.
  • Lichtenberg, J. (1987). Foundations and limits of freedom of the press. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 16(4), 329-355.
  • Mansell, R., & Raboy, M. (Eds.), Handbook of global media policy (pp. 1–20). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • McChesney, R. W. (2013). Digital disconnect: How capitalism is turning the internet against democracy. New York: New Press.
  • Michael, E. J. (2006). Market failure and intervention. In Public policy: The competitive framework (pp. 51–97). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Puppis, M. (2010). Media governance: A new concept for the analysis of media policy and regulation. Communication, Culture & Critique, 3(2), 134–149.
  • Streeter, T. Policy, politics, and discourse. Communication, Culture & Critique, 6(4), 488-501.
  • Yeung, K. (2008). Towards an understanding of regulation by design. In R. Brownsword & K. Yeung (Eds.), Regulating technologies: Legal futures, regulatory frames and technological fixes. Oxford: Hart Publishing.

Additional content:

  • Hoskins, G. (2019). Beyond ‘zero sum’: the case for context in regulating zero rating in the global South. Internet Policy Review, 8(1), n.p.
  • Lentz, B. (2013). Excavating historicity in the U.S. network neutrality debate: An interpretive perspective on policy change. Communication, Culture & Critique, 6(4), 568–597.
  • McNealy, J. E. (2012). The emerging conflict between newsworthiness and the right to be forgotten. Northern Kentucky Law Review, 39(2), 119–135.
  • Moore, M., & Tambini, D. (2018). Digital dominance: The power of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Napoli, P. M. (2015). Social media and the public interest: Governance of news platforms in the realm of individual and algorithmic gatekeepers. Telecommunications Policy, 39(9), 751–760.
  • Rajadhyaksha, A. (2011). The last cultural mile: An inquiry into technology and governance in India. Bangalore, India: The Centre for Internet & Society.
  • Sandoval, M. (2014). Corporate social (ir)responsibility in media and communication industries. Javnost -The Public, 20(3), 39-57.
  • Stein, L. (2004). Understanding speech rights: Defensive and empowering approaches to the First Amendment. Media, Culture, & Society, 26(1), 103–120.
  • Xia, J. (2017). China’s telecommunications evolution, institutions, and policy issues on the eve of 5G: A two-decade retrospect and prospect. Telecommunications Policy, 41(10), 931-947.


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

Student performance results

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 16.8
Merit 62.4
Pass 19.8
Fail 1

Key facts

Department: Media & Communications

Total students 2018/19: 26

Average class size 2018/19: 12

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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