IAMCR 2012 - Public Service Media Policies Working Group Call for Papers

erythrina_caffraThe Working Group on Public Service Media Policies of the International Association for Media and Communication Research invites submissions for the IAMCR Conference to be held from July 15-19, 2012 at the Howard College Campus of the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) in Durban, South Africa.

The deadline for submissions is February 14, 2012.

The conference will be held under the general theme, 'South-North Conversations'. The theme reflects the asymmetry of global communication flows, but without implying the negatives that usually accompany discussions of the 'digital divide'. The theme also calls for balanced and empowering practices and narratives that do not regard those in ‘the South’ as victims primarily in need of handouts from the more affluent.

Recently the Working Group on ‘European Public Broadcasting Policies’ has changed its name into ‘Public Service Media Policies’. This Conference in South Africa offers an excellent opportunity to strengthen our inclusiveness towards contributions from all over the globe and to respond to the current trend of convergence of media modalities. Reconceptualizing the public interest of/in the media and critically assessing old and new public service practices in social communications systems, taking into account social values such as diversity, access, quality and independence, is imperative in this new context.  In this conference, we wish to emphasize the public and social value as well as the positive, empowering potential of public service media around the globe. Papers with reference to public service media, using the public and social value concept in the ‘Global South’ countries, territories and communities will be particularly welcomed.

Selected Issues

The WG on Public Service Media Policies welcomes papers and panels related to the conference theme, including such topics as:

  • The public value and social value dimensions of the social communications system at a global, national and/or regional level in a context of global crisis and transformation;
  • Restructuring public service institutions, ideas and practices between the problems of the past (e.g., paternalistic tradition, post-colonial heritage) and the challenges of the future (e.g., new technological challenges and political and commercial dependencies);
  • (Im)possibilities of public-private partnerships (e.g., ad hoc collaboration or joint ventures among regional broadcasters, regional newspapers, and digital forums) with a view to stronger ‘information clusters’ in the region, within a community;
  • Prospects for vulnerable content (e.g., homemade fiction, arts and culture or content aimed at kids, ethnic cultural minorities, small linguistic communities) on public service media;
  • Universal access in gender, age, education and/or ethnic origin-related terms in the context of public service media;
  • Privatization as a potential solution for vulnerable regional public platforms; experiences in the North and the South;
  • Specialization as a path to follow for public service media (e.g., no longer offering all genres, small vs. broad public service, in smaller and bigger countries)?
  • Identifying the optimal balance between competition and monopoly in the media ecology with a view to open and/or reflective diversity of public service media’s supply: case-studies;
  • News and deliberation as public service values: examples of fruitful collaboration between broadcasters and social media platforms.
Convenors: Jo Bardoel
ASCoR, University of Amsterdam
Radboud University Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Leen d’Haenens
KULeuven (University of Leuven)


The deadline for submission of abstracts is February 14, 2012. Please note that this deadline will not be extended.

The Open Conference System (OCS) will open on December 1, 2011, and will close on February 14, 2012.

Decisions on acceptance of abstracts will be communicated to individual applicants by their Section or Working Group Head no later than March 12, 2012.

On the same day, March 12, 2012, conference registration will open for bookings by participants.

For those whose abstracts are accepted, full conference papers are to be submitted via the IAMCR OCS by June 10, 2012.

Guidelines for Abstracts

Abstracts should be between 300 and 500 words in length.

Abstract submissions

All abstract submissions must be made centrally only via the OCS. There are to be no email submissions of abstracts addressed to any Section or Working Group Head.

It is expected that for the most part, only one (1) abstract will be submitted per person for consideration by the Conference. However, under no circumstances should there be more than three abstracts bearing the name of the same applicant either individually or as part of any group of authors. Please note also that the same abstract or another version with minor variations in title or content must not be submitted to other Sections or Working Groups of the Association for consideration, after an initial submission. Such submissions will be deemed to be in breach of the conference guidelines and will be automatically rejected by the Open Conference System, by the relevant Head or by the Conference Programme Referee. Such applicants risk being removed entirely from the conference programme.

Upon submission of an abstract, you will be asked to confirm that your submission is original and that it has not been previously published in the form presented. You will also be given an opportunity to declare if your submission is currently before another conference for consideration.

For further information, please contact the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) or consult the Conference Organizers via the website at:


or by email at:

IAMCR2012 [at] ukzn.ac.za