Barcelona: Minutes of the 23rd IAMCR General Assembly

Barcelona, July 26, 2003

Manuel Pares i Maicas


The president welcomed all participants to the 23rd IAMCR General Assembly and conveyed apologies from Halloran, Kim, Mowlana, and Sinclair.



The agenda was approved.


Minutes from the General Assembly in Singapore, July 20, 2002

The minutes were approved.


The president´s report

In the report, the President stated that it had not been easy to act as president of an international organisation mirroring various cultural diversities with their distinct values, ethics, ideologies, and interests. It was noted that, despite all the differences, confrontations have been avoided. The report concluded by thanking the governing bodies and the membership as a whole for their constructive co-operation during the years.
The report was approved.


The Secretary General´s report

The report concentrated on the difficult work done to making the Barcelona conference successful. This had not been easy, though. Due to the heavy interest in participating and presenting papers, it had been necessary to act more rigid than the Secretary General personally liked. Not all phases of the planning had been happy experi-ences, but the membership was urged to look at the bright side. The report also mentioned the development of the new IAMCR website, and concluded by thanking Manuel Parés I Maicas for conducting the presidency in a friendly, flexible, and informal way.
The report was approved.


The treasurer´s report

The treasurer presented the Interim Financial Statements as at June 30, 2002. The statements showed total assets of $ 109,937 and an accumulated surplus of $ 97,013. The excess in the previous year of $ 7,810 was reported to level off during the coming period. The relatively good financial situation notwithstanding, the resources does not allow for more activities, and even more alarming, the Barcelona conference had not increased membership as normal for years with conferences and general assemblies. She also addressed the issue of the Schiller´s Award, where the optional payment had decreased.
The report was then approved.


The Deputy Secretary General´s report

The report dealt with the options for IMACR related to the upcoming World Summits On the Information Soci-ety in Geneva 2003 and in Tunis 2005. It was generally agreed that IAMCR have a role to play in the prepara-tions of the world summit meetings to affect the outcome and for promotional reasons. Divina Frau-Meigs added that it is equally important to strengthen the links with other NGOs and to consider the role of the IAMCR in such contexts.
The report was then approved.


The Vice-presidents´ reports

The president mentioned that there were no reports from Eddie Kuo, who had played an important role in the coming Taipei conference, and from Tawana Kupe.

Vice-president Marjan de Bruin´s report

The report was an account of measures taken to improve the newsletter and the tasks involved. In the report it was suggested to divide the tasks as had been the case in the latest issue. As printing costs in Jamaica seemed to be high, it was suggested to find another country were printing and distribution could take place. Finally the format of the newsletter was discussed in the report. It was also mentioned that the editor deliberately has tried to enhance the newsletter policy to include the less heard voices. Finally, Marjan de Bruin informed the General Assembly that it would be considered to publish the newsletter primarily in an electronic format, and that print copies would only be on request. The General Assembly expressed its gratitude for the results hitherto accom-plished and approved the report.

Vice-president Katharine Sarikakis´ report

The report contained mainly two issues according to the portfolio: the status of women in the IMACR and the status of junior scholars. Regarding the first issue several problems in order to promote women in the association were discussed, but on the positive side of the balance was the establishing of a women-net forum and the planning of the first women-only plenary during the Barcelona conference. As regards the second issue of young scholars the issuing of the journal Inter/Section was mentioned as well as the Junior Scholars´ Network with a membership of 90. It was finally proposed that a mentoring system should be established to increase juniors´ involvement in IAMCR, to fostering relationships with international colleagues and to improving the relations between senior and junior members.
With no further discussion, the report was approved.

Vice-president Jan Servaes´ report.

Jan Servaes presented his report, which focused on the offering of discount on journals, the reviving of the pub-lications committee, the publishing policy agreed with Hampton Press (three volumes a year), and the research component in his portfolio. Finally he informed the General Assembly that he had been investigating the issue of an IAMCR yearbook and had come to the conclusion that it would not be feasible at the moment due to both financial and organisational problems. Bob White informed the assembly that IAMCR publications were selling well, and that most had gone into the second printing. The report was then approved.


Election to substitute vice-president Tawana Kupe

Frank Morgan informed the assembly that due tto personal problems, Tawana Kupe had not been able to take on the responsibilities as vice-president since his election. According to the statutes, he proposed that Ruth Teer-Tomaselli was elected in his place. The proposal was supported by the Executive Board and the International Council, and the assembly approved.


Section heads´ reports and approval of new section heads

During the brief reports from some of the sections, it was mentioned by Graham Murdock that his and other sections had received far more abstracts than it was possible to accommodate, and that poster sessions was a fine way to solve parts of the problem. He pointed out that poster sessions should not be seen as a secondary activity, but on the other hand that sections should more carefully monitor posters in relation to the theme of the sections. Finally he stated that the bilingual sessions with Latin Americans had been successful and that the Political Economy would continue its collaboration with Spanish speaking colleagues. Others in the assembly suggested, on the contrary, that bilingual sessions had not been working, and that some people had felt alienated. The only solution would be to offer interpretation, which would be too expensive. President Manuel Parés I Maicas noted that English is the lingua franca, and we have to accept this.

The following sections reported the election of new heads:
Communication Technology: Hopeton Dunn and Pascal Verhoerst (joint heads).
Participatory Research: Ullamaija Kivikuru.
Psychology and Public Opinion: Hillel Nossek and Friederich Krotz (joint heads).
Community Communication: Laura Stein.
Audience and Re-ception Studies: Umi Khattab and Tony Wilson (joint heads).
Political Communication: Philippe Maarek.
Political Economy: Janet Wasko.
International Communication: Arnold de Beer (interim head).
All were approved, but note was taken to secure a better gender balance, when a section chooses to have a joint head system..


Approval of new section

On behalf of the working group on Media and Sport, Alina Bernstein proposed that the assembly approved the elevation of the group to becoming a new section. The assembly approved to establish a new section on Media and Sport .


Approval of new members

The assembly approved the list of new members circulated by the treasurer.


Approval of the new statutes

Frank Morgan introduced the new statutes by mentioning that the proposal was the result of three years of thor-ough work in the Review Committee, the Executive Board, the International Council with due assistance from the legal Committee. He then moved the following motion:

  1. That the General Assembly adopts the revised Statutes, developed by the IAMCR Review Committee and endorsed by the Executive Board and the International Council.
  2. That the new Statutes shall come into force immediately, except that the Heads of Sections, International Council, Executive Board, retiring President and incoming President shall operate under their existing mandates until the 24 General Assembly in 2004, at which time all of these positions will be declared vacant and elections shall be conducted under the new Statutes.


  1. S3.2(a) is amended to read “…a simple majority of the members present.”
  2. S5.5 refers to the use of “a system of optional preferential voting”. Optional preferential voting is a mechanism for obtaining a simple majority for the election of one candidate from a field of more than two candidates. The system operates by allowing voters to declare not only their first preferences but also their second and subsequent preferences, at the initial poll. After the primary votes have been con-ducted, the lowest scoring candidate is excluded and his/her votes are redistributed according to their second preference. The process is repeated until such time as one candidate has a clear majority. By making the process optional, voters are left with the choice of keeping their vote alive until the end or voiding it after the first round of counting.
  3. S6.14 is amended to read “…shall be minuted for approval by the next meeting of the International Council and reported to the next meeting of the General Assembly.”

The motion was approved by 91 votes for, five against, and three abstentions.


World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)

Divina Frau-Meigs the issue of the World Summit under the auspices of the International Telecommunications Union. She underlined the many potential conflicts and controversies ascribed to the preparation of the first summit to be held in Geneva in 2003, but also stressed that the IAMCR by taking active part in the preparatory meetings around the world would have the chance to promote research findings within the area, and that the result might end up with a world declaration that could function as a point of reference.

Marc Raboy thanked for the introduction and added that, although we do not know what the results might be, it is acutely important that not only members of the IAMCR acting as independent persons, but also the IAMCR as an organisation defines its role in the preparation of the summit and the foreseen declaration to be adopted in the second summit in Tunesia.

Cees Hamelink (who is member of a small working group set up the UN Secretary General, Koffi Annan) men-tioned that the discussion had been going on for several decades without any results, but that this time policy guidelines could be expected to be set up. Although researchers would be looked at with sceptisism it is impor-tant the take part in order to demystify the area and to function as a warning voice.

Marc Raboy then moved: “That the General Assembly mandates the International Council to set up a task force to coordinate IAMCR´s involvement in the WSIS process.” The motion was approved with the remark that the task force should comprise the various geographical and cultural areas represented in the IAMCR.


Barcelona 2002 conference report.

In his oral report, Miquel de Moragas considered the conference to be successful regarding participation (more than 800 people) and its gender and geographic distribution. He also stated that the conference based on freedom of expression and with the aim to stress IAMCR´s importance in the era of globalisation and cultural diversity. He also mentioned the huge difficulties in organising a conference as big as this with all the logistic and infra-structural requirements it implied.
The report was met with a big applause from the assembly, and the President in his conclusion thanked the whole organising team for its work and for keeping such a high standard in all respects.


The 2002 Taipei conference

Liangwen Kuo reported from the organising committee, and concluded that the conference planning was now entering the phase of details, and that the President and the Secretary General was expected to visit Taiwan in the autumn of 2002. The report was then approved.


The 2003 Porto Alegre conference

Vaniza Schule and professor Hohlfeldt presented the preliminary planning for the 2004 conference and General Assembly, and it was mentioned that the theme of the conference was still under discussion. Members of the assembly raised questions regarding the registration fee, gender balance in the plenaries, contact to UNESCO, the possible amount of scholarships, and translation. All the questions were promised to be taken into considera-tion, and the report was then approved.


IAMCR/ICA Conference in Austin, November 18-20, 2001
and the next conference in Loughborough, November 2003

John Downing reported from the Austin conference, which had been a success beyond expectations with more than 200 participants from 20 countries. Due to the success it was agreed to organise a sequel conference in Loughborough in 2003. The theme was preliminary planned to be “Digital Participation and Exclusion” in order to emphasise the participatory aspect and call for papers would soon be published. Katharine Sarikakis asked about the gender balance in the planning committee, and John Downing replied that women were welcome in the committee. The report was then approved.


IAMCR Schiller´s Prize

Graham Murdock, chair of the prize panel, reiterated that the award was agreed on in Singapore, and that it was open for submission from all IAMCR scholars below the age of 35, and that it was also thematically open. After a short description of the winning paper, the President handed over the award to Sasha Costanza-Chock, University of Pennsylvania (USA) for his paper “Mapping the Repertoire of Electronic Contention.”


Handing over of presidency

President Manuel Parés I Maicas stressed in his last speech as president that IAMCR for better and for worse is a world association with all the potential conflicts it implies. The only productive way for IAMCR is to emphasise plurality based on the principles of human rights and freedom of expression. He noted with satisfaction that during his presidency participation of women and members from the developing countries had increased, and that the rejuvenation project was now safely in harbour. He thanked all for their cooperation during the years and finally emphasised that his code of conduct had been to always being available to all members and never to impose his own opinions and ideas. He then wished to best to his successor.

Before taking the floor, the new President, Frank Morgan thanked the former President for his tremendous work for the association, and he gave him a present by potter Greg Daly as an expression of gratitude on behalf of IMACR.

In his first address to the association as President, Frank Morgan reminded that the need for research continues, and that we must strive to create ideas that will describe, explain, justify and put into perspective the pervading processes called media and communication. He warned that academics quite often lack humility and forget that they depend on other people´s ideas. Being an international association, he was pleased to see many of IAMCR´s international partners present at the conference and stressed that we most rely on each other, and that in general terms humanity is essentially about co-operation and not competition. On the internal affairs of the association, he reflected on the fact that after approving the new statutes, we have a commitment to work in the new and neglected areas within the field of media and communication research, and to do so in new and imaginative ways, for instance by remapping the structure and content of sections and working groups. He concluded by quoting Aristotle that the wisdom of the group is greater than that of any member of it.