Communication Policy and Technology

The Communication Policy and Technology (CP&T) Section of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) invites papers and panels for the IAMCR 2019 Conference, which will be held from 7 to 11 July, 2019 at the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 8 February 2019, at 23.59 UTC.

General theme of the conference

The central theme for 2019 is “Communication, Technology, and Human Dignity: Disputed Rights, Contested Truths”.  The year 2018 saw the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At its heart was the premise that everyone had the right to live in dignity. In the intervening years, communication systems have become ever more central to organizing every aspect of daily life, prompting renewed attention to questions around their role in both supporting and subverting the exercise of rights and the achievement of universal dignity.

The right to voice and visibility, to have one’s experiences and ideas fairly represented in the heartlands of public culture is now established as a basic human right alongside rights of access to the comprehensive information and analysis that supports individual expression and social participation on a basis of equality, dignity and mutual respect. Under current conditions these fundamental communication-related rights are under increasing pressure and threat. Control over the organisation of innovations in communication has shifted from governments to corporations. Concern with the public interest and the common good has been increasingly displaced by business models designed to maximise revenues.

With Communication, Technology and Human Dignity as the principal themes, the 2019 Madrid Congress aims to generate a cross-disciplinary debate that brings differing perspectives to bear on the urgent issues raised by present developments. The objective should not simply be to present new evidence and theorizing on key issues, but to reflect on the situation today in order to suggest how present developments may unfold in future and to engage with the challenges they present for research, policy and action.

We encourage participants to address the conference theme both from the viewpoint of the dominant communication systems and from those which are arising from the use of the new technologies – artificial intelligence, the growth of automation and robotics, Big Data and the Internet of Things. We also welcome analyses which re-evaluate human dignity in respect of geopolitics, the present-day socio-economic context, religion, transparency, accessibility and discrimination, and the re-composition of power.

CP&T Call

The Communication Policy and Technology Section focuses on the role and meaning of media and communication technologies, both analogue and digital, in past, current and future societies, and encourages a critical focus on the role of policy (broadly defined) in these developments.

For the IAMCR 2019 conference in Madrid we invite papers that explore how the general theme about human dignity, disputed rights and contested truths relates to media and communication policy and technology. We are interested in papers related to media, communication technologies and online platforms, ranging from print-cultures to online applications and the internet of things in different domains of society.

Over the last decade, the relations between (state and regional) institutions, citizens, and corporations have been fundamentally reconfigured. On the one hand, this development is accelerated and complicated by the rapid rise of transnational digital media platforms and their role in public discourses. On the other hand, we witness the emergence of new social (and populist) movements, often related to new modes of governance and participation. As a consequence, the boundaries between culture, communication and politics are being reconfigured and policy struggles to keep up with the dynamic changes in all societal spheres. We need to critically assess from interdisciplinary perspectives what these developments mean for the dignity of all human beings, for human and civil rights, and for our relationship with the concepts of knowledge and truth in the digital age.

The CP&T section therefore invites submissions that critically engage with these issues from a policy and technology perspective.

We welcome both papers and panel proposals addressing the following themes that fit in the general call for papers and are relevant to our section:

  •  Big Data and its implications for privacy, human dignity, citizenship and other rights;
  •  Policies and debates around artificial intelligence and its ethical and social implications, including bias, discrimination, transparency and responsibility in different contexts;
  •  The increasing levels of automation, algorithms and quantification in different social domains (e.g. health, social welfare, finance, news and entertainment production) and its ethical and social implications;
  •  The use of (predictive and punitive) control systems in political and legal decision making;
  •  Digital sovereignty and the challenges for global internet governance; 
  •  Policies and research into the digital divide, media literacy, access and inclusion programmes
  • Media and communication governance and their role in promoting pluralism and diversity;Media and Online governance regarding "fake news", social network bots, online harassment, hate speech, and cyberbullying, particularly as it relates to gender, race, class, ethnicity, nationality etc.;
  • Policies related to online advertising and its implications for consumers and their privacy;
  • Policies and debates around public service obligations, pluralism and diversity, convergence and net neutrality in broadcasting and internet/telecommunications services;
  • The effectiveness of international policies and laws in different regions (e.g. Article 1 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights “Integration policies and action plans to promote their participation in society, centring on non-discrimination, employment, the learning of languages and political commitment”);
  • Assessments of major international policy initiatives including the UNESCO Internet Universality Indicators project, the EU General Data Protection Framework, indicators, projects and research of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (United Nations) and initiatives in other regions etc.

In addition, we warmly invite submissions for a joint session with the Emerging Scholars Network. Emerging scholars who are current or recent PhDs, and are tackling issues within the scope of the CP&T section, are welcome to submit their research to either our section or to ESN, and indicate on their abstract that they wish to be considered for a joint CPT/ESN session.

The CP&T section may also sponsor a session with the Global Media Policy Working Group if enough abstracts of themes relevant to both our sections are submitted. Please indicate if you wish to be considered for a joint CPT/GMP session.

Submission of Abstracts

Accepted CPT submissions will take place in two types of sessions: individual paper sessions (i.e. 4-5 presenters with 12-15 minutes each followed by a discussant) and panel sessions (4-5 papers on a single theme).

Individual paper submissions

The CP&T section welcomes abstract proposals of between 300 and 500 words for papers in line with the conference and CP&T themes.

Abstracts should contain a title, main question or research problem, your theoretical framework, the method(s) used, and summarise the findings and their policy relevance.

Panel submissions

A complete submission for a CP&T panel (90 min) must include:
    1. The panel proposal: including, the panel title, a framing text of 300 to 500 words, the names of the panelists and the titles of their papers. The framing text should contain the overall idea and goal of the panel, and how it responds to the CP&T section call. A panel chair and a discussant should also be proposed.
    2. 4-5 paper abstracts of 300-500 words each, name of panel it is part of, title and author(s), main question or research problem/argument, theoretical framework, and – if applicable – method(s) used and findings, and policy relevance.

The panel description text and the individual abstracts must each be submitted individually so all individual abstracts must state which panel they are part of. Thus a panel with 5 papers involves making 6 separate submissions via the Open Conference System (OCS).

All abstracts must be submitted directly by the panel coordinator. All abstract submissions in a panel must indicate “PANEL:” as the first word of their title and the complete title of the panel must appear in the first line of each abstract. The panel proposal and the individual papers will all be peer reviewed.

Requirements and Evaluation

Submission of abstracts and panel proposals must be submitted through the online Open Conference System (OCS) at from 3 December 2018 through 8 February 2019. Early submission is strongly encouraged. Abstracts cannot be sent to the Section chairs.

It is expected that each person will submit only one (1) abstract. However, under no circumstances should there be more than two (2) abstracts bearing the name of the same author, 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 more than one Section or Working Group. Such submissions will be deemed to be in breach of the conference guidelines and will be rejected by the OCS system, by the relevant Head or by the Conference Programme Reviewer. Authors submitting them risk being removed entirely from the conference programme.

Submitted abstracts will be evaluated by a double blind review on the basis of: (1) theoretical contribution, (2) methods, (3) quality of writing, (4) literature review, (5) relevance of the submission to the work of the CP&T section and (communication/technology/media) policy, and (6) originality and/or significance of the work.

If a proposal is accepted, the presenter must also register for the conference. Only registered participants will be included in the final conference programme.

Prior to the conference, and at least by the 7th of June, a completed paper should be submitted to Session Chairs, discussants and uploaded to the Open Conference System.

As in previous years, a CP&T best paper award prize may be awarded. Only full papers submitted in advance of the conference, and by the full paper deadline of 7th of June, qualify for consideration.

Language policy

We welcome papers and presentations in English, French and Spanish.

Please note that if you wish to present in French or Spanish, we will ask you to prepare English language slides to facilitate communication. The chairs can provide further information.

Deadlines and important dates

The deadline to submit abstracts is 8 February 2019, at 23.59 UTC.
    • 3 December 2018 - Abstract submission system opens at
    • 8 February 2019 - Deadline to submit abstracts
    • 28 March 2019 - Abstract decisions announced by sections and working groups
    • 7 April 2019 - Deadline to apply for travel grants and awards
    • 11 April 2019 - Deadline to confirm participation
    • 7 May 2019 - Draft conference programme schedule released
    • 14 May 2019 - Last day for Early bird registration
    • 7 June 2019 - Deadline for full paper submission (qualifies for CP&T best paper award)
    • 7-11 July 2019 - IAMCR Conference


For further information on the CPT themes, submissions, panels and on the CP&T section please contact:
Chair: Aphra Kerr (aphra.kerr [AT], Maynooth University, IE.
Vice-Chair: Francesca Musiani (francesca.musiani [AT], CNRS, FR.
Vice-Chair: Julia Pohle (julia.pohle [AT], WZB, DE.

For further information on the conference venue, dates etc, please consult the IAMCR Madrid 2019 web page or contact the Local Organising Committee by email: