Global Communication and National Policies: The Return of the State – ICA pre-conference event

ICA 2013 PRE-CONFERENCE EVENT – GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS AND NATIONAL POLICIES: THE RETURN OF THE STATE?

VENUE: FYVIE HALL, UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER, REGENT STREET CAMPUS

DATE: SUNDAY 16 JUNE, 2013, FROM 9.15AM TO 5.45PM.

REGISTRATION FEE: $US65 Includes morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea)

There has been much discussion as to whether forces associated with globalization (economic, political, cultural) weaken the capacity of nation-states to regulate media institutions and media content. These debates intersect with the shift towards convergent digital media, with the associated rise of user-created content, multi-platform content distribution, and moves from the mass communications paradigm that dominated 20th century media policy. At the same time, arguments have been made that the scalar shift towards media globalization has been overstated, and national governments remain key players in shaping the media environment, with media corporations responding to the legal and policy frameworks they deal with at a national level.

This one-day pre-conference event will consider the relationship between global communications and national policies from a multidisciplinary perspective, incorporating global media studies, political economy, technology studies, and law and policy studies.

This proposed pre-conference event themes to be considered include:

• Nation-states and global media: does media globalization weaken the power of nation-states, or do nation-states actively foster the engagement of ‘national champions’ in the global communications economy?
• Transformations in national laws and policies in light of media globalization: is there a “return of the state” in managing the consequences of media convergence, in areas such as ownership and content policies, and copyright and intellectual property laws?
• Public media and globalization: how is the role of public media being reconfigured in the context of global media convergence (e.g. soft power and cultural diplomacy, cross-platform operations, public value tests)?
• Legal globalization: what pressures are there to harmonize national laws and regulations across national boundaries, and what distinctive elements can communications research bring to bear upon such questions? How are civil society organizations and NGOs engaging with such questions?
• Internet governance, global media platforms and nation-states: are Google and Apple now global media companies? How are communication scholars and policy-makers engaging with such questions?

The event has 40 speakers from 16 countries, and papers deal with perspectives from Europe, Asia, Latin America, North America, Australia and Africa.

SPEAKERS (in alphabetical order)

Ruoyun Bai (University of Toronto, Canada), Simon Berghofer (Freie Universite Berlin, Germany), Sandra Braman (U. Wisconsin – Milwaukee, USA), Daniele Canedo (Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium), Chen Ya-Chi (Chinese Culture University, Taiwan), Terje Colbjornsen (University of Oslo, Norway), Stuart Cunningham (Queensland University of Technology, Australia), Karen Donders (Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium), Anthony Fung (Chinese University of Hong Kong), Cherian George (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), Nassanga Gorretti (Makerere University, Uganda), Petros Iosifidis (City University, UK), Dal Yong Jin (Simon Fraser University, Canada), Andrew Kenyon (University of Melbourne, Australia), Maria Löbich (Ludwig-Maximillians-University, Munich, Germany), Eva Lievens (K.U. Leuven, Belgium), Lucas Logan (Texas A&M University, USA), Cécile Méadel (Mines ParisTech, France), Maria Michalis (University of Westminster, UK), Joan Barata Mir (URL – Barcelona, Spain), Ole Johan Mjos (University of Bergen, Norway), Hallvard Moe (University of Bergen, Norway), Eva Novak (Jade University, Germany), Cinzia Padovani (Southern Illinois University, USA), Amy Piao (University of Westminster, UK), Manuel Puppis (University of Zurich, Switzerland), Nelson Ribeiro (University Catolica Portugesa, Portugal), Katharine Sarakakis (University of Vienna, Austria), Biswarap Sen (University of Oregon, USA), Christina Slade (Bath Spa University, UK), Colin Sparks (Hong Kong Baptist University), Min Tang (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA), Graeme Turner (University of Queensland, Australia), Hilde van den Buick (University of Antwerp, Belgium), Silvio Waisbord (George Washington University, USA), Dwayne Winseck (Carleton University, Canada), Corinna Wenzel (University of Salzberg, Austria), Karin Gwinn Wilkins (University of Texas – Austin, USA), and Xin Xin (University of Westminster, UK).

EVENT SPONSORS

This pre-conference event is hosted and sponsored by the Communications and Media Research Institute (CAMRI) at the University of Westminster, and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, and by the Global Communications & Social Change Division, the Communications Law & Policy Division, and the Communications & Technology Divisions of the International Communications Association.

The organisers of the event are Professor Terry Flew, Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia (t.flew@qut.edu.au), and Professor Jeanette Steemers, CAMRI, University of Westminster.

BACKGROUND

Discussion of the relationship between global communications media and nation-states has often oscillated uneasily between two poles. On the one hand, comparative national studies of communications law and policy are open to the criticism that their objects of analysis – media technologies, platforms, content and audiences – are increasingly transnational. On the other, arguments that the nation-state is in decline as a political-economic entity, as part of a scalar shift of global power to empires and networked multitudes, are not well supported by empirical evidence. While some aspects of media and communication law and policy are being addressed by transnational entities (both governmental, corporate and NGOs), much policy activity remains at the level of the nation-state.

The Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking by journalists in the U.K. and the political influence of News International is a reminder that even the most global of media corporations can face concentrated national scrutiny into their operations, There is also a significant recent history of ‘developmental states’ in Asia and Latin America marshaling national resources in order to become lead players in the global communications economy. Countries such as South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Australia, as well as China, have chosen to focus upon public investment rather than market competition as the primary means of developing national broadband infrastructure, in contrast to the recommended approaches of international communications agencies and the United States’ preferred pathway. There has also been reconsideration of claims that the Internet is unregulatable, and whether forms of content regulation can be applied online based on cultural understandings of what is considered to be objectionable content or what is inappropriate for children and minors.

Media and communications represent an interesting site through which to consider the relationship between globalization and nation-states. With media and communications technologies being a major enabler of globalization, and with common global standards being critical to the operations of networked digital media, media has long been associated with breaking down national barriers and promoting either a “global village” or global neo-liberal hegemony, depending upon one’s perspective. But they are also a critical site for cultural policy and content regulation, as they are considered key enablers of national cultural identities as well as important creative industries that provide pathways to post-industrial economic growth and development. This one-day pre-conference event considers these issues from a diverse range of perspectives, with participants from many countries.

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About Terry Flew

I am Professor of Media and Communication in the Creative Industries Faculty at the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. I am the author of New Media: An Introduction, the fourth edition of which was published by Oxford University Press in 2014. I am also the author of Understanding Global Media, published by Palgrave in 2007, and The Creative Industries, Culture and Policy, published by Sage in 2012.