Skip to main content

Riding or Lashing the Waves: Regulating Media for Diversity in a Time of Uncertainty

International Communication Association Preconference

MAY 24, 2019
National Press Club
Washington, DC

National Press Club
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor

A generation ago, the meaning of the term "mass media" was clear and direct: one-to-many means of communication. Over the past 20 years the term has been stretched to cover if not yet in name, a chaotic maze of broad and narrowcast media, local and global at the same time. Blogs can easily morph from a personal diary into a specialized magazine. Instant messaging tools like Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger can become instruments of mass mobilization.

Furthermore, as the means of communications changed, so did the genres they support. Blogging and vlogging, podcasting, screen capture videos, and game broadcasting, live broadcasting of events using mobile phones, or data visualizations and mapping are new types of journalism and para-journalism. Finally, the new mass media is nomadic. It refuses to be confined by national borders, laws, and regulations. While for many not desirable, for others not feasible, and for many others an unexpected gift, the difficulty of regulating and legislating for media in this day and age raises questions such as enforcement, relevance, co-regulation, controlling by standards and technologies, and so on. 

The "Riding or lashing the waves? Regulating Media in a time of Uncertainty" ICA pre-conference focuses on the regulatory and policy changes needed to stabilize the path from traditional to future forms of media. A core component of our conversation is an in-depth exploration of choices for regulating or deregulating media to ensure media pluralism and diversity. The umbrella question is “what are the regulatory, policy, and production rules that can make future media diverse, embracing pluralism of perspectives and ideas, user-focused and civically-responsible, while remaining profitable?”   



Sorin Adam Matei, Associate Dean and Professor,College Of Liberal Arts, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA and Chicago, IL

Franck Rebillard, Francois Moreau, Fabrice Rochelandet, Professors, Laboratory for the Study of Creative and Cultural Industries, University of Pars, 13 and Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, France


9.00 : Welcome : Organizers

9.15 : Plenary 1 :

  • Kathryn Brownell, Associate Professor, Department of History, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA: Lessons From Media Regulation (35mn)
  • Nicolas Curien, Professor, Commissioner, Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel, Paris, France: A.I. hitting the media industry: which opportunities, which dangers, which regulation?
  •  (35mn)

            + Discussion (20mn) 

10.45-11.00: Coffee break

11.00 :

Session 1 : Alternative media and technologies for pluralism

  • Loïc Ballarini (Université de Lorraine, France), Emmanuel Marty (University Grenoblé Alpes, France) and Nikos Smyrnaios (Université Toulouse, France) - French media: can crowdfunding serve pluralism? (15 + 10 mn)
  • Marcus Breen (Boston College, USA) - Not-for-profit media-journalism in a national innovation-technology program (15 + 10 mn)
  • Maud Bernisson (Karlstad University, Sweden) - A media perspective on the GDPR, a case study (15 + 10 mn)
  • Qun Wang (Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA) - Media Diversity as Means or Ends?: (De)Regulating for Diversity in the Case of Google News

Session 2 : Media regulation and diversity  in the platform era

  • Karoline Andrea Ihlebæk (University of Oslo), Vilde Schanke Sundet (Norway University of Applied Sciences)  and Kari Steen-Johnsen (Institute for Social Research, Norway) - Digitalization and diversity: a case study of policy incentives in the news sector (15 + 10 mn)
  • Derek Wilding (University of Technology, Sydney, Australia) - Pluralism overboard: how attempts to shape platform regulation could harm media pluralism (15 + 10 mn)
  • Marko Milosavljevic (Ljubljana University, Croatia) and Iva Nenadic (University of Zagreb, Croatia)  - Blurred Lines: Regulating beyond media to protect media pluralism (15 + 10 mn)
  • Inna Lyubareva and Fabrice Rochelandet (Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, France) - From media pluralism to the quality of online news: New issues with digital platforms (15 + 10 mn)

12:45 – 1.45: Lunch (1h)

1:45-2.45  Plenary presentation 2

  1. Lee Rainie, Director, Pew Research, Washington, DC, USA – The reckoning of technology companies: trends in social media use (20 min)
  2. Joseph Daniel, Author, "The Presidential Word," Former Communication Director and Spokesperson for the French Prime Minister, Paris, France – Executive Power Communication: From Mass to Social Media (20 min)

Moderator – S. A. Matei    

2.45 : Plenary 3:

  • Phil Napoli, Professor, Duke University, Durham, USA, What, If Anything, Can Platform Regulation Borrow from Mass Media Regulation? (35mn)
  • Françoise Benhamou, Professor, Former French Telecommunication Agency Commissioner (ARCEP), Paris, France: Convergence between on-line media and telecommunications. A threat to diversity? (35mn)

            +Discussion (20mn)

4.15  Conclusion: David Weinberger, Author, Everyday Chaos, Boston, USA - How Not to Handle Chaotic Knowledge  (45mn)