Media Policy and Media Freedom in Europe

Course Level: 
Course Open to: 
Students on-site
Academic Year: 
US Credits: 
ECTS Credits: 
Course Description: 

Damian Tambini is George Soros Visiting Chair

Elective course

Media freedom matters: the relationships among governments, private interests and the media have become central to contemporary discussions of democracy and the open society in Europe. High profile controversies have arisen involving capture of regulatory authorities, control of licensed broadcasters, strategic use of media law, and cronyism between media owners and governing parties. As a result, the EU has introduced legislation to attempt to protect EU standards of independent media: the European Media Freedom Act is part of a wider Democracy Action Plan which focuses on media and information systems and attempts to create a new policy settlement for the media at a time of rapid technological change.

This course examines the problem of media freedom from historical, legal and public policy perspectives, examining also the challenges of new technologies and changing markets and models of journalism. The approach is necessarily interdisciplinary: we discuss of current developments in EU law and policy in the context of wider technological and political change. No background in law is required.

The course consists of lectures, seminar discussions and advocacy exercises.

Students will be asked to research case studies of examples of media capture or media control from other countries.

Learning Outcomes: 

 By the end of this course, students should be able to:

✓ Critically discuss the relationship between media freedom and democracy

✓ Describe examples of challenges to media freedom and pluralism

✓ Describe and critically discuss the main international standards relevant to media freedom and relevant policy responses such as the European Commission’s Media Freedom Act

✓ Advocate for particular policy approaches for the media


Seminar Presentation (40% of the final grade)

Policy Submission (40% of the final grade)

 Critical reflection on policy choice (20% of the final grade)