Loughborough 2003: Minutes of the International Council Meeting

Loughborough, November 8, 2003 



de Bruin, Downing, Josephi, Kleinwächter, Krotz, Maarek, Maicas, Meigs, Morgan, Nossek, Prehn, Raboy, Richter, Ross, Screberny (In attendanceNordenstreng).

The president opened the meeting by apologising for the many members of the International Council that were unable to attend due to the unusual circumstances for the meeting that had its background in the unfortunate postponing of the planned conference in Taipei.



To the agenda was added one item: new members, and it was then confirmed.


Minutes af the meetings in Barcelona

It was suggested to condense the minutes of the treasurer´s report, and the wording “ the president chairs all committees” was changed into “the president is ex officio member of all committees”. The minutes were then approved.


Report from the Executive Board

The president reported briefly on the Executive Board meeting (see minutes from the Executive Board). He underlined the unsatisfactory outcome of the work in many of the committees, which might partly be due to his egalitarian rather than interventionist management style. He also stressed that quite unusually the sites for the forthcoming conferences had not yet been settled.

There was general consensus among the members that the planning of the coming conferences was very urgent, and that the geographical rotation should be kept in mind. It was also discussed, whether IAMCR should change its conference policy in order to receive a percentage of possible overheads. The Council decided to maintain the present pattern.

The secretary general gave a short update on the developing of the new website. He referred to the decision taken in the Executive Board to run the new site on an experimental basis during spring 2004, as the economic consequences were still not totally clear. He also announced that the new website address consequently would be implemented as soon as possible.
During the following discussion on the WSIS development and other international issue raised in the report from Divina Frau-Meigs, it was emphasised that WSIS is a long term process,” Tunesia+”, but that IAMCR is already very influential and the only organisation dealing with research. Divina Frau-Meigs promoted the point of view that IAMCR has been too focused on UNESCO, and suggested that IAMCR should establish correspondents in cities with HQ of international organisations. The president, Divina Frau-Meigs, Annabelle Sreberny, Wolfgang Kleinwächter, Mark Raboy, and Kaarle Nordenstreng all declared their intentions to attend WSIS in Geneva in December.

Annie Méar reported on the financial status of the association up until July 31, 2003. The conclusion of the report is that unfortunately, we have generated less revenues from membership fees than expected, but fortunately the expenses are similarly lower. Contributions to the IAMCR-Schiller Scholarship Fund were also below expectations. Obviously, what IAMCR needs are more members. The council took note of the financial statements, but was concerned about the validity of the list of members in the various sections, and due to that uncertainty, a vote on the statements was demanded. Seven voted for and one against.


Reports from committees

In the meetings at the Barcelona conference, the following committees were established: Conference Policy, Development, Elections, Fundraising, Membership and Participation, Newsletter, Publications, Rules and Procedures, Section Review, and the Task Force on WSIS. Only committees reporting to the council meeting are mentioned in these minutes.


The Conference Policy Committee

The committee had reported but discussion was deferred due to illness and absence of the chair, Katharine Sarikakis. Thanks were nevertheless expressed to the committee and its chair.


The Election Committee

Janet Wasko reported from the Election Committee and the meeting with the Executive Board. Whereas the procedures for electing the president and the Executive Board applied to the by-laws, the election of the International Council was discussed. Strictly according to the by-laws, the council is elected at the General Assembly, but it was suggested that this procedure could increase the risk of sudden proposals without the necessary background, but on the other hand it was stated that we should have procedures that are as inclusive as possible. Philippe Maarek pointed out that the legal committee had not meet recently to discuss the by-laws, and the conclusion was that is was up to the council to decide on the procedures. It was therefore agreed that: the elected council members should be nominated and elected by postal voting at the same time as elections for president and Executive Board, that nomination of candidates for the International Council could be limited to nominating oneself, that candidates, nominators, and voters should be paid-up members, and that the counting would take place in Porto Alegre prior to the General Assembly. For this voted 11, whereas four voted for holding the International Council voting at the General Assembly.


The Newsletter

In Marjan de Bruin report on the production and development of the newsletter, it was emphasised that the role of the newsletter had developed into more than just sharing internal items and now included discussions on issues transcending the association in order to making IAMCR more visible and transparent and to satisfy the needs for openness and inclusion. The report also contained several points of critique of the managerial aspects of living up to the promises put forward by the Executive Board, and to a certain extend also the International Council.


The Publications Committee

The Council endorsed the view of the Executive Board that the process of refereeing should be kept confidential. It also questioned why, with such a large and well qualified publications committee, it was necessary to draw referees from outside the committee. The president agreed to write to the chair of the committee to seek clarification on these issues.


Section Review Committee

The committee was appointed at the International Council meeting in Barcelona 2002 with the mandate to continually review the domains and performance of sections and working groups. The committee, chaired by Kaarle Nordenstreng, understands its mandate broadly so that it also include possible alternative domain structures. The committee will submit a report to the International Council in spring 2004 to be discussed in Porto Alegre.


Task Force on WSIS

In her report on the work in the task force, Divina Frau Meigs emphasises that apart from the official IAMCR representation as an NGO in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations and a member of the Conference of NGOs (Congo) working on the civil society, many other IAMCR members have been active in other capacities. IAMCR at large is now the focal point for education and research as an elected part of the Bureau of Civil Society monitoring the procedural aspects of the WSIS for civil society.

On the future work, the report suggests that we have to maintain pressure on controversial issues and keeping them on the agenda and in the final declaration, to maintain our presence at coming preparatory meetings and at the final summit, maintain pressure on the monitoring procedures, and to create IAMCR events.
It was decided to include various aspects of the WSIS as a special supplement in the next newsletter and to produce a book on research related to WSIS .


New members

The list of new members of the IAMCR (four institutional members, 31 individual members, and six student members) was approved.



Kaarle Nordenstreng suggested that IAMCR continue the collaboration with ICA but seek to reduce the cost of joint events.
Philippe Maarek informed the council that the French-speaking part of IAMCR would, as in Barcelona, prepare for French panels to be included in the section programmes.
Frank Morgan announced officially that, in response to approaches from Board and Council members and the membership at large, he would stand for re-election as president of the IAMCR.