MC403      Half Unit
Contemporary Issues in Media and Communications Policy

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Damian Tambini


This course is available on the MSc in Marketing, MSc in Media and Communications, MSc in Media and Communications (Media and Communications Governance) 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. You are advised to consult the course teacher if you have not taken MC424, or if you do not have relevant professional experience.

This course is capped, meaning that there is a limit to the number of students who can be accepted.


No formal pre-requisite, but preparation for the course could include seeking additional reading in discussion with the course convenor, or auditing MC424 course materials and lectures from Moodle.

Course content

This course examines live issues in internet, broadcasting, press and telecommunications policy with a focus on current debates and an innovative format including 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 guest speakers, and supplementary readings may be advised during seminars or by email. Students will be encouraged to debate current policy issues including those that regulators and the government are currently consulting on, and develop a critical understanding of policy intervention, the policy process and strategy.


This course is delivered through lectures, seminars and worshops totalling a minimum of 30 hours across Lent Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online lectures and in-person classes/classes delivered online. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of term.

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.
  • 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.
  • Moore, M. and Tambini, D. (Eds). (2018). Digital Dominance: The Power of Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
  • 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.
  • Tambini, D. (2021). Media Freedom. Cambridge, Polity.
  • 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.
  • Wu, Tim. The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Guilded Age. Columbia Global Reports, New York, 2018.
  • Journals such as Media, Culture, and Society, New Media and Society, Journal of Digital Media and Policy, , Telecommunications Policy, and  Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance.
  • The European Information Society portal as well as the websites of OECD, OfCOM, the FCC and other communications regulators see BEREC


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

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 43.8
Merit 46.2
Pass 7.5
Fail 2.5

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Media & Communications

Total students 2020/21: 34

Average class size 2020/21: 34

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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