Media @ McGill

Rethinking power in world politics: the empowering potential of media monitoring and gender-based advocacy networks


This event is a collaboration between Media@McGill and the McGill Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (IGSF). It takes place in Arts W215, March 25th 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm. (map)

Reflections on the Global Media Monitoring Project

Claudia Padovani
University of Padova, Italy

In my talk I would like to propose a way of looking at power and influence in the world politics of communication that focuses on the nexus between media research, transnational communication advocacy and high level policy making. I shall do this by inductively starting from a specific project - the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) - and will proceed discussing the empowering potential of a chain of practices that connects knowledge production to discourses and norms formation which (may) end up informing actual policy making.

Promoted by the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), the Global Media Monitoring Project is the largest and longest longitudinal study on the representation of women in the world's media. It is also the largest advocacy initiative in the world on changing the representation of women in the media; and it is unique in involving participants ranging from grassroots community organizations to university students and researchers to media practitioners, all of whom participate on a voluntary basis.

In the course of 2009, for the 4th edition of the GMMP, 127 countries got organized and participated in this experience, sharing a common methodology and goals, but also their grassroots experiences, their success stories, images and visions. In March 2010 a preliminary report of the GMMP will be presented at the 54th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, which is to assess developments that have taken place since the Beijing Conference on Women of 1995, and identify priority areas of intervention for the future. Insights and policy proposals based on the GMMP results will be presented to that high level panel; while a GMMP Global Report, as well as national reports, will be available in September 2010.

I have had the opportunity to coordinate the Italian second and third GMMP editions (respectively in 2000 and 2005) and to observe, participate in and conduct research on the advocacy networks that stemmed from that experience in my country. Moreover, in the past few months, I have co-coordinated 2010 GMMP activities of the Italian team, in cooperation with the Osservatorio di Pavia (Monia Azzalini), the GMMP promoting agency and the European regional coordinator, prof. Karen Ross. We are now planning activities, at the national and international level, to make the project and its results better known and relevant to different publics. In my talk, I would therefore like to build on this direct experience and to interrogate the GMMP from different perspectives in order to assess its relevance in the context of Global Communication Governance.

I adopt here a broad understanding of Global Communication Governance (Padovani & Pavan 2010; Raboy & Padovani 2010), one that acknowledges the interplay amongst different actors and modes of intervention, at different levels with different outcomes, including cognitive and normative developments. Such understanding invites a revision of the concepts of power and influence in the global context; and calls for adequate, and often multi-dimensional approaches, if we are to fully appreciate the elements that contribute to governing the global, including global communication.

I therefore suggest it becomes crucial to investigate the nexus between three elements: a) the role of expert knowledge and epistemic communities and the potential of empirically viable research activities as resources for policy making; b) the practices, repertoires and outcomes of transnational advocacy networks, with a special attention for their framing of issues and discursive interventions; and finally c) the possibility for research results and normative-oriented discursive practices, to develop into statements that may inform and orientate global decision making.

I think the Global Media Monitoring Project offers an amazing opportunity to look into these dynamics, while possibly resonating to a diversified audience: from gender aware individuals and groups, to students interested in the methodologies of the project, to people with a specific interest for media reform and communication rights activism from the local to the transnational level, to scholars who share concerns about the future orientation of global governance.


PDF icon Padovani_2010.pdf3.53 MB