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Mapping Media Policy and Law – Course Designs and Modules

Mapping Media Policy and Law – Course Designs and Modules

Project Overview

Mapping Media Policy and Law occupies the terrain of research, pedagogy & advocacy on Media Policy & Law (MPL) in India. The central objective of the project is to promote MPL as both, an academic field and a focal point of media advocacy in India. It aims to develop necessary knowledge on MPL in the country that would aide three principal stakeholders: academia, regulatory bodies & CSOs. In the long term, the aim is also to integrate MPL as a component of interdisciplinary teaching in Media Studies, Law and associated social sciences. The project has 3 principal components: Curriculum Development, Research Incubation and Disciplinary Advocacy.


This section contains teaching modules being developed as part of the MPL Project. These modules explore specific aspects of media law and media policy, and are conducted in both Instruction and Workshop modes. The modules on media law, developed by ALF, address Defamation, Obscenity, Sedition and Hate Speech and are directed at students in both media law and media studies. The modules approach media law from multiple perspectives, consolidating colonial history, legal doctrine and cultural studies. They are based on courses conducted in the M.S. programme in Communication Studies at St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore and the MA programme in Media Governance at CCMG. The two modules on “Document Analysis” and “Policy Analysis”, developed by CCMG, are based on workshops conducted in its MA programme in ‘Media Governance’. Focusing on techniques in policy studies, these workshop modules are located respectively in the courses on “Policy Research & Evaluation” (III Semester) and on “regulation in Theory and Practice” (IV Semester).

Course On Defamation

Course Design
Defamation law is guided to a large extent by the core struggle between the right to reputation on one hand, and free expression on the other. The module begins by unpacking multiple understandings of reputation, launching into a history of defamation law, and the elements and defences against charges of defamation. The module goes on to examine how Defamation is used as a tool against free expression before looking into the productive aspects of defamation. The final division throws up the question of what an ideal law of defamation would look like.


Cases and Documents
Indian Express Newspapers vs. Jagmohan Mundhra, AIR 1985 Bom 229
Sonakka Gopalagowda Shanthaveri vs. U.R. Anantha Murthy and Ors., AIR 1988 Kant 255
Dr. R. Krishnamurthy vs. Sun TV Network Limited, Madras High Court, 19 November 2007

International and Contemporary Defamation Standards
Robert Post, The Social Foundations of Defamation Law: Reputation and the Constitution
S.P. Sathe, Defamation and Public Advocacy
Kamayani Bali Mahabal, A Cheeky Videogame by Greenpeace but Corporate Giant TATA is not amused
Subramaniam Swamy, Defamation Litigation: A Survivor’s Toolkit, The Hindu
Gordon Rayner, How Libel Tourism became an embarrassment to Britain’s reputation, The Telegraph
T.R. Vivek, Bite in the Blog Bark, Outlook
The Trial of Oscar Wilde
What’s in a Name?, The Economic Times

Course on Obscenity

Course Design

Student Output
Anindita Biswas, Assignment on Obscenity – IInd Semester, M.S. in Communication Studies, St. Joseph’s College

Course on Document Analysis

Module Design
This semester-long workshop is conducted in the last module of the paper “Policy Research & Evaluation” (III Semester). The workshop forms the primary stage of learning to analyse processes of policy formulation and analysis. It introduces a structured way to decipher government documents, including Reports of Committees and Inquiry Commissions on various aspects of the media. Students learn to identify key actors in the concerned media sector, critically reflect on qualitative and quantitative evidence provided and unravel arguments on policy options. Students work in groups of 2 on documents assigned to them; the academic and evaluative framework of this module may be found here.


Report of the Working Group on Autonomy for Akashvani and Doordarshan, 1978
Report of the Enquiry Committee on Small Newspapers, 1965 – Part I
Report of the Enquiry Committee on Small Newspapers, 1965 – Part II

Miller, Hugh T. and Demir, Tansu, 2007, ‘Policy Communities’, in Frank Fischer, Gerald j. Miller and Mara S. Sidney, (ed.), Handbook of Public Policy Analysis: Theory, Politics and Methods, No. 3, Cheltenham.
van Eeten, Michel M.J., 2007, ‘Narrative Policy Analysis’, in Frank Fischer, Gerald j. Miller and Mara S. Sidney, (ed.), Handbook of Public Policy Analysis: Theory, Politics and Methods, No. 3, Cheltenham.
Shore,Chris and Wright,Susan (ed.), 1997, Anthropology of Policy, Routledge, London and New Delhi.
Das, Biswajit and Parthasarathy, Vibodh, 2011, ‘Media Research and Public Policy: Tiding over Rupture, in, Robin Mansell and Marc Raboy, (ed.), The Handbook of Global Media and Communication Policy, Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Student Output
Enquiry Committee on Small Scale Newspapers, 1965 –Shilpa Narani/Suvojit Bandopadhyaya – Semester 3 (Batch 2010 – 2012)

Report of the Working Group on Autonomy for Akashvani and Doordarshan, 1978 – Merlin Oommen /Neeti Duaneria – Semester 3 (Batch 2010 – 2012)

Course on Policy Analysis

Module Design
This semester-long workshop is conducted in the last module of the paper Regulation in Theory in Practice (Semester IV) and builds on the students’ familiarity with policy arrangements in various media sectors, post 1991. It delves deeper into concerns of access, equity and public good which stand central as much to debates on governance as to approaches to policy analysis. In doing so, it is recognised that unravelling successive policy arrangements requires drawing on multiple sources, and not just reading into explicit “Policy” announcements. This module is taught in a workshop format. Students work in a cluster of seven, each tackling a specific sector assigned to them. The academic and evaluative framework for this module may be found here.

Broadband Policy 2004
Recommendations on National Broadband Plan 2010
National Telecom Policy, 1994
New Telecom Policy, 1999

Policy Analysis
1. van Cuilenburg, J & McQuail, D (2003) ‘Media Policy Paradigm Shifts: Towards a New Communications Policy Paradigm’, European Journal of Communication Vol. 18/2 June (pp.181-207)
2. Freedman, D. (2010) ‘Media Policy Silences: The Hidden Face of Communications Decision Making’; The International Journal of Press/Politics Vol. 15/3 (pp.344-361)

Telecom Policy
3. Petrazzini, B. A. (1996) ‘Telecommunications policy in India: the political underpinnings of reform’; Telecommunications Policy Vol. 20/1 (pp. 39-51)
4. Thomas, P. (2007) ‘Telecom musings: public service issues in India’, info Vol. 9/2-3 (pp.97–107)

Broadband Policy
5. Chaudhuri. A. (2010) ‘Broadband Policy: What Do We Know? What Do We Need to Know?’; Economic and Political Weekly Vol XLV/38 (pp. 36-43)
6. Wolcott, P. (2005) ‘The Provision of Internet Services in India’, in Davison, R.M. et al (Ed.) Information Systems in Developing Countries: Theory and Practice, University of Hong Kong Press, Hong Kong

Student Output
Broadband Policy (Group assignment, Semester 4 – Batch 2010-2012)

Course on Hate Speech



Course on Sedition

Module Design


The non-resident Fellowships offered under the MPL Project straddle the spheres of Curriculum Mapping, Pedagogical Enrichment and Research Incubation. Fellows are identified and selected through the strategic route (instead of a ‘call for proposals’) to maximise traction between their own/ongoing work and the Project’s priorities. Consequently, each Fellowship’s territory of research is collaboratively evolved between prospective Fellows and Project Staff. Over an eight to ten month period, each fellowship leads to a working paper, a public lecture and/or lecture at a project workshop.

1. Prof K.D. Rao, Professor, National Law University, Dwarka, New Delhi

Fellowship Working Title- Auditing the Pedagogy of Media Law in India

The aim of the Fellowship is to analyse courses/modules on ‘media law’ and related domains (Cyber law, IP law) offered by formal law programmes (in stand-alone law schools and universities/colleges) and by professional bodies (e.g. press academies and working journalists groups) and enumerating curricula and research output along three vectors—viz. the object of ‘media’ law; thematic priorities; and, use of case material to contextualise them in light of vision/trend reports by accrediting bodies like UGC and the Bar Council.

2. Dr Shishir Jha, Associate Professor, Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management (SJMSOM), IIT Bombay

Fellowship Working Title-Collaborative Pedagogy in the Age of Information Abundance: The Case of Digitisation in the Publishing & Music Industries

The aim of the Fellowship is to explore the literature on how information abundance is helping to reshape the classroom engagement within knowledge economy. The fellow will examine the various revenue and business models of the newly emerging digital aspects of the knowledge economy with a special focus on publishing and music industries.

3. Mr Manoj Mitta, Senior Editor (Legal Affairs), Times of India and Visiting Faculty, Times School of Journalism, New Delhi

Fellowship Working Title – Legal Underpinnings of Media Regulation: From Analysing Judgements to Examining Jurisprudence

The aim of the Fellowship is to interview judges who have delivered important judgements in the field of Media in order to provide an oral history of Media Jurisprudence in contemporary India. The output generated through such an exercise, both raw (interviews of judges) and final (analyses of the interviews), will not only quantitatively add to the study material available on the subject, but also provide qualitative depth to the material being put together for the larger pedagogical exercise under MPL.

4. Dr. Anindya Chaudhuri, National Institute of Science Technology and Development Studies, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi

Fellowship Working Title – Policy Studies in India with special emphasis on heightening flow of information in society and what that entails to teaching policy analysis

The proposed study intends to be a survey of the current status of Policy Studies as it is beginning to be understood and taught. It also intends to focus on the flood of information over society – the outcome of the communications revolution – and how that will shape the field as it is practiced.

5. Prof Santosh Panda, Professor of Distance Education & former director, Staff Training and Research Institute of Distance Education (STRIDE), IGNOU, New Delhi

Fellowship Working Title – Planning and Designing of Workbook on Policy Studies

The aim of this exercise is to plan and design a workbook on the teaching of Media Policy based on the pedagogy being developed at CCMG under the MPL project. The Workbook will map the content & scope of workshops, outline the aspects of MPL curriculum and its possible outcomes, as also instructional details and self-learning strategies for the same.


Table on obscenity cases


Research Output

Biswajit Das and Vibodh Parthasarathi, Media Research and Public Policy: Tiding over the Rupture in The Handbook of Global Media and Communication Policy, Edited by Robin Mansell and Marc Raboy

Siddharth Narrain, “Disaffection” and the Law: The Chilling Effect of Sedition Laws in India, Economic and Political Weekly, February 19, 2011

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