Week 12: Strategies and Tactics of Governance

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 7.00.09 PMWelcome to the very last section of Media Governance! We have 2 sessions on strategies and tactics of governance. Today’s is a general one; next week is a case study of using research and related publicity as a tactic.

Strategy: What is being done.

Tactic: How that is achieved.

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As your quiz shows, we tend to require the “macro-structures” of the society to care for access, media freedom. This is the traditional view.

Yet, in the time of accelerating technological development, law-making cannot keep up:


Nowadays, equally importantly, corporations need to do their share. This is not only to please their customers but also to secure their assets and their brand as a whole. We have discussed the concept of a social media governance policies already a couple of times.

And… Perhaps we as well, as individual consumers and citizens, have our own responsibility.

Let’s take a look at some recent cases.


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There is no legal governance mechanism to mandate Facebook to censor its live function. And, based on the recent F8 developer conference, FB focused on its mobile, video and image-driven future, while mentioning the murder only briefly. Perhaps it is time to call for ethical and moral governance, instead of merely legal one; as the Time columnist and the grandson of the murder victim did.


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The ongoing questions of workplace harassment, and the pressure by advertisers (who, in turn, were afraid of the activist-consumers) resulted in departure of Bill O’Reilly (greatly due to an investigative reportage by the New York Times). This decision seems to go against the company’s bottom line, as the above graphs by the New York Times illustrate. Some might argue that, therefore, this is a PR and reputation management issue. At the same time, we are not talking about a car manufacturing but television personality with specific kind of content. The age-old issue in media governance is the relationship between media creators and media content; how media organizations need to be meticulous about their staff, as the staff create the angles, biases, diversity, or the lack of.

“New” Actors in Media Governance — and Their Strategies and Tactics

As in any other fields of governance, us, the people — and more specifically, non-profit, civic organizations — are gaining importance. I created this mind map about that:

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Some examples, beyond laws and corporate self-governance that all have the ultimate goal of a more diverse, democratic, functioning media system, but who all see that system a bit differently:

  • INTERNATIONAL MULTI-STAKEHOLDER collaborations — and their AGREEMENTS (tactic) on GOVERNING THE INTERNET TOGETHER (strategy). Although we talk about global communication, laws that govern it are still form the mass media era — national. The UN, for instance, is very much trying with its Internet Governance Forum and the World Summit on Information Society (10+) to set some principles that nations could agree upon.

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  • FUNDERS — and their MONEY (tactic) to SUPPORT QUALITY JOURNALISM (strategy).  A very current case  of funders governing media with money (here: quality journalism)  is that by the tech billionaire Pierre Omidyar. HeScreen Shot 2017-04-19 at 8.25.28 PM.png has established Omidyar Network for giving away his money, and (with a history of supporting journalism) has just dedicated a whooping $100 million to journalism projects in North and Latin America — more funds open to any projects around the world.



  • ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS — and their PRESSURE/LOBBYING POWER (tactic) to ACHIEVE A MORE JUST SOCIAL MEDIA SPHERE (strategy). 77 social and racial justice organizations have recently urged changes to Facebook’s censorship policies and practices.
  • GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATIONS/GROUPS — and their (sometimes dubious) PROTEST TACTICS to promote INTERNET FREEDOM FOR ALL. Think about the Anonymous – the hacker group. They claim they are for freedom of expression and right now Israel fears for their annual attack.
  • WATCHDOGS — and their RESEARCH (tactic) to pressure governments and others to care about JOURNALISTIC FREEDOM (strategy):Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 10.03.14 AMReporters without Borders and Freedom House (international ranking organizations that many of you may know) are “watchdogs” researching journalistic freedom and using their data as a strategic tool to highlight flaws in this field.  More about this strategy next week, with a case study.


This week, your participation is another Google Hangout to discuss key take-aways from the course and to run through the final exam structure.

Please choose your hangout time from this schedule.


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