Week 4: Stakeholders

1. POWER that Defines Stakeholders: Micro, Meso, Macro

This week, we look at the STAKEHOLDERS of media governance.  We have determined that we can look at governance in terms of societies, specific organizations, and individuals.Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 4.45.37 PM Remember Steward Clegg’s (1989) idea of the circuits of power – very useful here.

2. CONTEXT that Defines Stakeholders: Globalization 

Most media governance stakeholders in the past decades have focused on national contexts — mass media, after all, were structured around national systems. But the philosophical grounds are shared in many countries. Ever since the Greco-Roman tradition of public communication as a tool for problem-solving and decision making (think Aristotle & Socrates) the ideas and ideals of communication and democracy have been closely linked. The rise of mass media in the 19th century took that idea to another level when information could be shared, at least potentially, not only by the elites, but by vast groups of people, regardless of economic or social standing. No wonder the printing press was influential in educating and activating the proletariat.

Later on, in the 20th century, many countries chose to establish a public broadcasting system to ensure several components that had to do with the media’s relationship with democracy: universal access to media contents; diversity of all kinds of contents (famously, the trinity originally attributed to the BBC: public media should inform, educate and entertain); as well as a variety of voices and viewpoints, also those of minorities. In the academic contexts, the normative model of the public sphere by Jürgen Habermas was often used in defense of such thinking: a democracy needs a diverse functioning media to guarantee a public sphere where citizens (virtually) meet to debate (rationally) and agree (consensus) on common issues.

The above discourses on media and democracy have a Western conceptual history, but with globalization have become prominent in international contexts. The idea of Development Communication often included the idea of (more) universal access and, hence, establishment of vehicles of public service media.

And Internet and mobile communication multiplied opportunities and challenges. The new platforms also made many media reform issues increasingly borderless, global. The array of slogans of transformations includes: Globalization of media markets and conglomerization (often vertical integration) of media companies; fragmentation of audiences and their transformation into prosumers; deregulation of media policies; commercialization of media structures – and an incredible proliferation of platforms, contents, and producers of media.  All this affected traditional media as well as networked and mobile communication.  In terms of the global outlook, the idea of democracy and democratization now embraced the concept of ICT4D.

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The context of the United Nations and global debates on the role of the media reflect the above development:

Freedom of Expression is defined already in theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of 1946, Art. 19.

The discussions on Right to, and Freedom of, Information entered the debate in the 1960s — when the role of governments and states were questioned and the rights of individual citizens to information were brought forth.

Around the same time, the lesser developed countries begun to bring up the Right to Communicate:  They wanted to challenge the Western domination of mass communication. Active partners in the conversation were UNESCO, proposing theNew World Information and Communication Order and the so called UN McBride Commission (1980).

In the 1990s, the idea of the Right to Cultural Identity was added to UNDHR — and challenged in fora such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) , and later in the World Trade Organization (WTO) in terms of copyright agreements. (A fun fact: Here’s the fake website by anti-globalization activist that describes what GATT/WTO does).

At the same time, the UN recognized the increasing  importance of the Internet and organized two major meetings on the issue: The World Summit on the Information Society.  It soon became clear, also with the beginning of the UN-driven Internet Governance Forums, that Communications Rights was the term several stakeholders started to use as an umbrella term for the new challenges of the networked era.

Read more here from a short summary article on the historical developments above.

Much of the recent debate has focused in the Internet and Human Rights. In late 2009, Finland declared broadband Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 7.42.57 PMaccess a legal right. The UN followed in 2011 in declaring the importance of access:

“Given that the Internet has become an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights, combating inequality, and accelerating development and human progress, ensuring universal access to the Internet should be a priority for all states,”

Frank La Rue, a special rapporteur to the United Nations,  in his report to the UN Human Rights Council

But while human rights seem universal, they can also been seen as relational and contextual, even when we think about the Internet. For instance, the question of access may include challenges of corruption and concentration of ownership, as someAfrican activists argue.

NOTEWORTHY FOR ICM experts: While many issues, from censorship to surveillance, are no longer national, nations and regions still matter. Media Governance — that is, who gets to control the media — is both a global and a local matter. It has local and global stakeholders.

It goes without saying that multinational media and technology conglomerates as well as international organizations, such as WTO and ITU, and supra-national bodies such as the EU, influence areas beyond nation-states.

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You’ve seen this graph before, too. As this outline of media governance shows, a part of the governance does happen in multi-national contexts.

Yet, much of media regulation is nation-bound.



National mass media systems can be classified broadly as:

  • authoritarian (the government practically decides everything, including acceptable content), to
  • free market driven (self-explanatory), to
  • public service-oriented ones (the government may have some say, e.g.,  some media outlets are financed by public funds, but the outlets operate relatively independently. A classic example: the afore-mentioned BBC). And old mass media regulatory frameworks often influence attempts to nationally regulate the Internet and mobile communications. Today, the trend seems to be that governments all over the world are taking over public service, compromising their independence and forcing national broadcasting systems under more authoritarian rule.

In addition, much of the history of consumption, of political participation, of economic structures still influences the present. They affect global challenges and bring about specifically local issues. Alone the basic statistics on internet access and use in different regions in the world attest to vast differences.

3. CAUSES that Defines Stakeholders: From Policy-Makers to $-Makers to Change-Makers

Harvard professor Joseph Nye (in his famous book Governance in a Globalizing World, mentioned in ICM810 yesterday, for those who take that class) identifies the layer of governance as follows: Private sector, public sector, and third sector; in supranational, national and ‘subnational’ levels.

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To give an example of Nye’s matrix:

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 7.31.50 AM

But today, in our increasingly media and technology-dependent world, we also have individuals and groups — perhaps the 4th Sector — that are not necessarily focused and organized to govern the media, but need to engage in media governance:

Further in the book by Hackett & Carroll (your reading for Week 4, Chpt 3) they note that three kinds of groups potentially engage in struggle for more democratic media:

(1) Those within and around media industries – journalists, other media professionals, librarians, communications researchers. Today, we can add information technology specialists (just think of Manning and Snowden) into this group;

(2) Those who are very dependent on media in relation to their ‘cause’ (anti-globalization movements are a great example, again; but organizations that see the power of ICT4D could be); and

(3) Those ‘diffuse’ sectors who occasionally mobilize for better media when they feel that media pose a threat to their cause (e.g., a classic example would be children’s protection/rights activists that might oppose violence on TV, be concerned about children in social media, and so on).

H&C wrote their book a decade ago. Is their view still accurate?

I suggest that we can add at least a few other groups in the mix:

(4) Semi-professionals. As mentioned by many, citizen journalism, for example, has flourished in the past decade. Is it media reform — reforming the news media landscape? Could we call organizations such as Wikileaks a media reform group? How about crowd-sourced crisis mapping platform Ushahidi — that clearly performs public service?

(5) Foundations. Many international foundations understand the power of the media in the processes of democratization — or maintaining democracy. For instance, the Open Society Foundations (global; former Soros Foundation) Mapping Digital Media project sought to provide information and data for activists, advocates, policy-makers and other stake-holders. Nominet Trust (UK) ranks most inspiring social media innovations, and so on.

screen-shot-2017-02-10-at-7-46-40-am(6) Consumers/Users/Netizens? Some say we, as individuals, are media companies of our own. We create and distribute content constantly. How much can we change by our individual actions? Recently, many have declared on Facebook and Twitter that they, personally, will not spread fake news. Many news outlets are giving tips on how to govern one’s news feeds.

Any others?

4. Multi-stakeholderism

Given these many media landscape shifts, how should we should conceptualize, support, and act towards ‘media democracy’ and ‘good media governance’? Multi-stakeholder modeling has been offered as the solution by scholars and change-makers alike.

The idea of using a multi-stakeholder approach to conceptualize media-related issues and processes is nothing new. Multi-stakeholder modeling has been used, for instance, in tracing technological diffusion in media industries, by mapping developments in organizational, industry and environmental levels, or discussing how to frame media ethics.

Also, the field of media management has embraced the concept of ‘multi-stakeholderism’ over the last decade. For example, McQuail, 2000 (whom many of us might have read in other courses) has discussed the many ‘pressures’ that a media organization faces from actors, ranging from competitors, news agencies, owners, and unions, to those that have legal and political control; from diverse pressure groups and other institutions; distribution channels and audiences to pressures created by events and constant information and culture supply. (The organizational media governance — governance from within — will be discussed in detail later in the course.)

Yet, Internet Governance, and the UN-driven IG Forums has brought the need of multi-stakeholder dialogues in the forefront of policy-making, as well as media reform mobilizing. The challenges are so great that without the collaboration of governments, the industry, and the civil society, there is no way to democratize the net. Here is a wonderful account on multi-stakeholderism in Internet Governance by Consumers International.

5. Assignment: A Case that Interests You

Your assignment for this week is to find a governance case with an INTERNATIONAL or GLOBAL angle  and with at least two different kinds of stakeholders (the UN, nation states, politicians, companies, advocacy organizations, individuals…). This can be about regulating the media at a global level, or a company governing its communication in a new cultural context, or an individual communicating with a global scope/influence…

Deliverable: Storify Board

  1. Illustrate your case with a Storify storyboard. (So here’s the platform.)
  2. Include a bit of discussion (2-3 sentences) on why you chose this case and what can we learn by looking at the different stakeholders.
  3. Include at least two kinds of stakeholders who have a stake in your case.
  4. Please post a link to your story below, as a comment.

Here’s a one minute tutorial if you haven’t used Storify before:

In order to create you will need to sign up for a Storify account. Use any email and screen name you like.

TIP: Remember to publicize your Storify board. Otherwise it can be seen only by you.

Here’s an example, related to last week’s discussion, that I created for you.


Your W4 reading is by Hackett & Carroll, Intro_ Chapters 1 & 3. For extra reading and inspiration, the Google Drive includes a Guidebook on Media Governance by AMARC, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters. I uploaded for you to see how a Third Sector organization approaches media governance.


37 thoughts on “Week 4: Stakeholders

    1. We have discussed the theme of China’s first World Internet Conference: “An interconnected world shared and governed by all” before in ICM820… The slogan is interesting: “governed by all”. How would that happen in practice? You do a good job highlighting that, indeed, not only the government is the stakeholder: You have (Chinese) companies and citizens, as well as foreign tech companies that all are dependent on the networked context in China. An interesting twist to this conversation happened this Friday, with Mark Zuckerberg’s global manifesto. Here’s a sceptic analysis from a biz perspective, mentioning China as a big market that Facebook, too, would like to conquer: “Zuckerberg has spent years trying to win approval to operate Facebook in China, which has one of the world’s most sweeping internet censorship regimes, known as the Great Firewall.” http://www.investors.com/news/technology/facebook-ceo-mark-zuckerberg-think-globally-censor-locally/


    1. Tiffani: This is a nice example of some international actors in climate governance. It left me wondering, however: 1) How about nation states? Non-profits and other advocacy organizations (e.g. foundations funding climate action)? Political parties? Citizens as stakeholders — especially citizens of regions that (at least allegedly) are now suffering from famine etc. because of climate change? Your list of stakeholders is limited — and the purpose of this session was to understand that today, many stakeholders have a say (maybe not equal, but still) in global-local issues. 2) Where is the media in here? We are discussing the governance of the media, not so much of global issues as such. One could make a case that climate change is still covered in very divisive ways in partisan media. Note that his assignment was about governing the media itself. One angle to this, using climate change as an example, would be trying to highlight who is saying what about climate change in legacy and social media. Who are the stakeholders setting the agenda for that conversation?


    2. As much of a controversy climate change is I think you did a really good job at spelling out who the stakeholders are and more importantly what their concerns are. A huge stakeholder that I don’t see mentioned is US! As the climate shifts what can we do to help prevent this. Most people will say we have done enough by ruining our environment but if you ask me it is up to us to make the difference. Banks and companies donating money to the cause may seem like BIG contributions but I think personally small contributions made by everyone would make more of a difference. As a society we have become more environmentally conscious over the past 5 years, in queens they even handed out free compost cans for people to have in their homes promoting good new habits. More efforts like that should be taken to help reduce our risk of another environmental chaos.
      The media is powerful tool in this situation. For example Leonardo DiCaprio is using his social influence in a positive way to help climate change with the account @MissionBlue. He has dedicated a huge part of his life (and money) to help fix this problem. More steps should be taken in this direction to make a difference.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Climate change definitely affects our world in every way. Our food supply has significantly due to the changes in the climate. Tropical countries that were once in abundance of natural, organic and fresh food are now facing horrific and catastrophic natural disasters. This reduces food quantity, quality and the location that food once grew changes or goes extinct in its natural state and is now produced with chemicals and fertilizers.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Mid term response
      To help countries meet this challenge, the World Bank Group today adopted a new Climate Change Action Plan, which lays out concrete actions to help countries deliver on their NDCs and sets ambitious targets for 2020 in high-impact areas, including clean energy, green transport, climate-smart agriculture, and urban resilience, as well as in mobilizing the private sector to expand climate investments in developing countries.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a highly complex case. Unfortunately, at the same time, from a research perspective, the complexity makes it very interesting. My comment to you is very much in line with my comment to Tiffani: Where’s the media in this equation? I understand you focused on a specific case of the new governance being crafted at the UN. But surely this was not only such an “inside job”? The conflict at hand evokes heated debates from many stakeholders (politicians, advocates, citizens…). At the same time, it is a case of a very siloed conversation: This data map of the debate is illustrative of those filter bubbles. https://medium.com/i-data/israel-gaza-war-data-a54969aeb23e#.rg0vvlfv1 I also just want to remind us all that in this course, we are focusing on who has the power of the media and comm tech. My firm belief is that having that power means having immense commercial and political power. That power is also contested, constantly, like in the PB case. So while your case is highly interesting, I would like to hear some commentary on how and how the media agenda is governed in this case.


    1. This is a seemingly simple but oh-so-complex case! You have mapped many stakeholders in the FB privacy case but… don’t forget companies that buy the data for/from advertisers, and don’t forget advocacy organizations that are lobbying against FB: http://www.businessinsider.com/new-report-questions-how-facebook-censors-content-2015-6 — I urge you to also think about https://info.internet.org/en/ — what is that about? Is it a great thing or another way to get to consumer data from developing countries = emerging markets?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Excellent take on the buying and selling of personal data by social media titans. What is also interesting, is that users aren’t aware of this reality. In fact, just in this past week, more information has been revealed that enhances your point. Perhaps if users were are, they would use social media differently or not at all. An interesting hypothetical to think about, but once again, excellent Storify. It was a joy to read.


    3. This was interesting! I think most people are aware that they’re data is being collected but having it sold to companies to be targeted for advertisements is a different story. I’m definitely interested to see if people would give up using facebook after finding out this information. Individuals are the biggest stakeholders for facebook; perhaps facebook would reduce data selling if people decided not to use the platform anymore? It definitely is an invasion of privacy and the fact that they aren’t vocal about the practice shows that they know it’s not very ethical.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. This storify is very interesting since most people believe Facebook’s messages to be private which is probably what makes it so valuable to advertisers. Of course they would want to know above all else what people are saying when they think no one is watching. I am not surprised, as we have all heard of Facebook’s reputation for selling information on consumer behaviors to advertisers. It was only a matter of time till they began using “private” messages to sell to advertisers. I have noticed myself some odd things recently, I have noticed that sometimes when I mention a need or product in confidence to friends via text message I will get an advertisement of this shortly after, it is actually really creepy at times.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent mapping of stakeholders! I would add individuals from the countries affected. But — here is my question: How about the media? It’s clear to me I was unclear as you, Anthony and Tiffani mapped stakeholders outside of media / tech comm. You clearly demonstrated your understanding of the concept of stakeholders in a governance issue. But think about questions that have to do with media (such as piracy, digital currencies…) and apply the same approach for them. (You don’t need to re-do the assignment, just think about how that would work. I’m stressing this as media used to be governed by national governments and businesses — now the issue is much more complex.) Also, just if interested, take a look what we did in ICM810 – mapping the conversation around the Executive Order in the media: https://docs.google.com/document/d/120Yr6i25tAnpDR9bhS7jAQ12FZ-F8OMlvpmeXSUp_Cw/edit

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good thoughts Chiang Zhu (Joe) !

        I think the “Muslim Ban” is totally unnecessary. First of all, the United States already had very difficult measures in regards to who they let in the country. As a Mexican immigrant I witnessed countless denials to simply visit the United States for vacation. Now I would imagine it would be extremely hard for someone with a Muslim background to enter the United States.

        President Trump banned citizens from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the U.S. He firmly believes that these countries are harboring terrorists and we have to apply extreme vetting to protect U.S. citizens. To add, there has not been one terrorist attack on the U.S. from refugees who come from these 7 countries. Interestingly, the September 11 attackers were from the countries of Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and The United Arab Emirates. So why not ban citizens from the countries who actually harmed U.S. citizens? The answer to this is very simple, President Trump’s business empire has ties with 3 of these 4 countries (Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.) President Trump did not act as a stakeholder for the United States only. President Trump acted as a stakeholder for his personal endeavors; to protect his empire and his business partners’ interests as well. I am certainly against the Muslim ban but if an executive order of this magnitude is enacted it should be instituted fairly to protect citizens from countries that actually have attacked U.S. soil and not harm citizens from the 7 banned countries.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. This Muslim Ban is doing exactly what I suspected was happening for a very longtime now. Even though money, resources, size and structure all work in the America’s favor, the world is waking up…I hope that makes sense. Government leaders all over the world are not going to just allow themselves to be ran over and they are realizing that with social media they can control the international global narrative. I don’t think it will be so much Anti-American but they are realizing that the power for quick and swift action lies with the people and not in Washington.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. This is an interesting case of governance! A national government trying to control platforms that are, in essence, global (and money-making corporations). You ask very good questions about whether this type of governance should take place (or is even possible). I would have loved to see some social media commentary examples, by different stakeholders, about what they say about this — especially since, I gather, social media have been a vehicle for protests in the country. I was also trying to find out current information — it seems to me this case was at its peak some years ago. What is the situation now?


    2. Does Social Media Need to be regulated? By La Shay Green

      South American countries have been behind in the regulation of their media so it doesn’t surprise me that it took up until about 2012 to try and fight for their rights. I do think that their plan for regulation is possible and should be enforced. Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz says “social media needs to be regulated..mans conduct in society needs to be regulated”, this statement is kind of ridiculous being that the way one conducts themselves cannot be controlled. That is why their efforts to ‘prevent violence’ by reducing the amount shown on television is one of the view ways of going about doing that. On that note, I do not think social media can or should be regulated and they are far from being able to govern all media usage. It is just too big to grasp right now.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I definitely agree that most media can be really violent and this can be detrimental to children this can also take place in social media so I can definitely see where the concern comes from. I think the way the the Venezuelan government is handling the situation is very good as they are not planning to completely ban all violent media they simply want to place greater restrictions on children accessing this media. But i definitely do agree with the influence of media on people’s behaviors and honestly don’t think it would be a bad idea to restrict children from being able to access violent media

      Liked by 2 people

    4. Shay,

      As a millennial, any suggestion that social media should be more regulated is disturbing. I can only imagine the sentiments of the youth population in Venezuela. Are they involved in the political process? Have their been any protests there regarding this possibility?

      P.S. I love the cat gif. and the “thinking oprah” gif.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I, too, share this link with you https://docs.google.com/document/d/120Yr6i25tAnpDR9bhS7jAQ12FZ-F8OMlvpmeXSUp_Cw/edit about the polarizing power game regarding the media coverage on the EO. You had tons of stakeholders, the the administration and Trump as a person, to the immigrants, companies, non-profits, volunteers — and the battle over getting your story heard was fierce. This case will be analyzed in many academic presentations and papers as one of the most polarized battle over meanings of our time.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Such a polarizing topic! The executive order has effected so many people, and the tweets you included showcase it’s wide-reaching effects. In your last paragraph you mention stakeholders and how potential businesses can be uprooted due to the ban. An interesting insight that I haven’t really thought about. Also, potential consequences on our economy if businesses go under. Just as a critique, try and add more of a social media angle on the Storify. How are news organizations, ordinary people and world leaders reacting to such a polarizing order.


    3. I think this case is particularly interesting when you think about media outlets and social media, because taking a side on the ban can definitely affect the future business of that outlet or person. Websites that immediately condemned the ban had their comment section filled to the brim with people who disagreed with them and vice versa. You run the risk of losing viewers when reporting a story like this. On the individual side, even sending out a tweet discussing the ban can turn friends against you. Stakeholders online in this situation have to face a moral decision of either publicly denouncing the ban or discussing it objectively.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. “In truth, refugees are fleeing terror — they are not terrorists,” David Miliband, the group’s president and chief executive, said in a statement. “And at a time when there are more refugees than ever, America must remain true to its core values. America must remain a beacon of hope.”

      Liked by 1 person


      A great angle to an assignment that discusses stakeholders. When you take a look at Nye’s matrix of stakeholders at the global, national, and local levels he doesn’t consider individuals. When he was writing the text some 7 years ago it did not occur to him that in modern democracies, we would have such powerful single actors governing the media. I hinted to the the fact that some individuals, such as whistleblowers, are gaining such power (or, at least, potential) in governance. President Trump has dual power: that over agendas/discourses, and that of formal power: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/05/technology/trumps-fcc-quickly-targets-net-neutrality-rules.html?_r=0

      Note that I don’t wish to discuss the politics of Trump’s governance. But this case highlights a new(ish) situation in modern times.

      Excellent analysis from your part.


    2. Alejandro,

      The possible political implications and attempts highlighted in this Storify were well thought out and provided an otherwise overlooked connection. Your analysis of the strategy tactics against several bodies of media providers for dominance over whom decides our reality is refreshing and unapologetic.

      Liked by 1 person

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