Media @ McGill

Montreal Media Policy Group wraps up a stellar year


The Montreal Media Policy Group holds its final meeting of a very busy year next Wednesday, 2 May, when it will receive visiting scholar/activist Ralf Bendrath, Research Fellow at the University of Bremen for a discussion of contemporary issues in Internet governance. For more on the event, click here

The Montreal Media Policy Group is a collective of young academics, legal and industry representatives from the Montreal area, launched in November, 2005. This was an initiative of the newly established Beaverbrook Chair in Ethics, Media and Communications, Marc Raboy, and McGill PhD candidate Gregory Taylor. Though McGill-based, the group is designed to encompass not just the McGill scholarly community but the greater sphere of media activists, academics and practitioners in the wider Montreal region. Since the first meeting in November 2005, a solid core and changing cast have met regularly to discuss significant issues related to media governance.

MMPG Events:

A major project launched by members of this group, with the support of Media@McGill, was the Converging In Parallel conference, November 9-10, 2006. Bram Abramson, Jeremy Shtern and Gregory Taylor organized this successful two-day event which brought together communication policy academics, private industry and public service representatives from across Canada. More than thirty conference participants addressed questions concerning the role of Canadian communication researchers in the changing communications policy environment: how does research work inform, influence, and shift the agendas of policymakers in Canadian jurisdictions – indeed, should it at all? The keynote speaker for this event was Sandra Braman, Professor in the Department of Communication, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who discussed efforts within and including the U.S. academic community, particularly within the academic discipline of communication studies, to link communication research and policy-and how such efforts can be relevant to Canada.

An earlier initiative of the MMPG was a March 2006 public discussion with Canadian broadcasting icon Pierre Juneau, in conversation with Marc Raboy. This afternoon was an exceptional lesson in Canadian media history as Professor Raboy and M. Juneau discussed key developments such as the launch of the CRTC, the implementation of Canadian content laws, and how M. Juneau, as the first CRTC chair, went about bringing domestic ownership to Canadian media.

Most recently, in April 2007, the MMPG was pleased to present a talk with the Director of the Donald McGannon Communication Research Center, Fordham University’s Professor Philip Napoli. In a fascinating one-hour talk entitled The Politics of Research and the Politics of Data in U.S. Communications Policymaking, Professor Napoli outlined the struggles within the U.S. communications policy community to access the very data which is so central to their work. In an era where one often hears the refrain “information is power”, Philip Napoli clearly demonstrated how information research has become a significant forum for political struggle in the United States. During his visit, Napoli graciously participated in an interview. Media@McGill is pleased to present the following clips.

Napoli on media ownership in the U.S.

Napoli on the privatization of data in the U.S.

Napoli on the role of research in policymaking

Napoli on the fairness doctrine

Napoli on the 'marketplace of ideas'

The Group:

Among those who have contributed to this group’s success over the last two years include McGill PhD candidates Geneviève Bonin, Andrew Gibson, Stefana Lamasanu, Normand Landry, Aysha Mawani, Ariana Moscote-Friere and Gregory Taylor; UQAM PhD candidates Aimé-Jules Bizimana, Oumar Kane and Evan Light; U de Montreal PhD candidates Damien Charrieras and Jeremy Shtern; media workers Shevaughn Battle (Concordia M.A. candidate and FACTOR – Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recording) and Chantal Francoeur (Radio-Canada reporter and Concordia PhD candidate); McGill Law students Bram Abramson and Fred Pinto; and McGill-Sauvé visiting scholar Basu Baskota.

A selection of topics covered:

The MMPG tries to keep abreast of recent developments in media policy and utilize the various expertise within the group to bring about a greater understanding of the political and cultural dimensions of policies and media governance in Canada and abroad. Among the issues addressed:

Gregory Taylor: the CBC lock-out of 2005.

Normand Landry: the history and recent developments of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

Jeremy Shtern: the World Summit on the Information Society and the Internet Governance Forum.

Basu Baskota: the fight for media freedom in Nepal.

Aimé-Jules Bizimana: a history of war journalism.

Evan Light and Normand Landry: community and citizen’s media.

Bram Abramson: Voice over IP regulation.

This group is open to all interested parties in the Montreal area. After a summer hiatus, the MMPG will meet again in the fall of 2007. Feel free to get in touch if you live in the Montreal area and have an interest in the rapidly shifting world of media policy. The founder and contact for the group is Gregory Taylor (