Introduction: Media Policy and Media Policy Research

  • Manuel Puppis
  • Hilde Van den Bulck


This introductory chapter discusses both media policy and the field of media policy research. Focusing on the subject of research first, we deal with media policy, media regulation and media governance, and how they relate to each other. We argue that media policies emanate from and are reflective of more abstract paradigmatic views on the relationship between the state, society and media. Moreover, media policy is not only about the output of policy-making but also about the policy-making process (politics) that takes place within specific institutional structures (polity). In turn, media regulation refers to the specific instruments implemented to achieve specified policy goals and media governance reflects a power shift from governments to new actors and fora. Proceeding to the research field, we follow Lasswell by defining media policy research as encompassing both doing research about media policy and informing media policy-making. We briefly discuss the history of this field of study and the ongoing debate about the relationship between administrative and critical research. The chapter ends by looking at the promise and limitations of the recent trend of evidence-based policy-making and its implication for the analysis of media and communication policy.


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Further Reading

  1. Braman S. (Ed.). (2003). Communication researchers and policy making. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  2. Freedman, D. (2008). The politics of media policy. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  3. Fischer, F. (2003). Reframing policy analysis: Discursive politics and deliberative practices. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Just, N., & Puppis, M. (Eds.). (2012). Trends in communication policy research: New theories, methods and subjects. Bristol; Chicago: Intellect.Google Scholar
  5. Napoli, P. M., & Gillis, N. (2006). Reassessing the potential contribution of communications research to communications policy: The case of media ownership. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 50(4), 671–691.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manuel Puppis
    • 1
  • Hilde Van den Bulck
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Communication and Media ResearchUniversity of FribourgFribourgSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of CommunicationDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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