Global Media Policy Working Group - Call for Proposals 2021

The Global Media Policy (GMP) Working Group of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) invites the submission of proposals for single papers and multi-paper sessions (the online conference equivalent of a panel in a face to face conference) for IAMCR 2021, which will be held online from 11 to 15 July, 2021. The conference will also have a regional hub in Nairobi, Kenya. Both the online conference and the regional hub will be hosted by the Department of Journalism & Corporate Communication of United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa) in Nairobi. The deadline for submission is 9 February 2021, at 23.59 UTC.

See the IAMCR 2021 general call for proposals


IAMCR conferences address a wide diversity of themes defined by our 33 thematic sections and working groups. We also propose a single central theme to be explored throughout the conference with the aim of generating and exploring multiple perspectives. This theme is addressed in plenary and special sessions, and in some sessions of the sections and working groups. Not all submissions have to address this central theme. 

The central theme for IAMCR 2021, Rethinking borders and boundaries: Beyond the global/local dichotomy in communication studies, is concerned with how changes in communication theory and practice are challenging our understanding of global and local, creating new identities and discourses, and enabling a hybrid glocalisation, with both positive and negative consequences. 

Five sub-themes of this central theme have been identified: The rebirth of populist discourses; Activism and the new global social justice movements; Trends in global media ecosystems; Identity: Gender, class, ethnicity, religion, sexuality; and Communication for development in health, climate change and education. See the complete theme description and rationale here.

Conference model: Online with an African "hub" and global satellite activities

In alignment with the possibilities offered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the conference’s main theme, Rethinking Borders and Boundaries, IAMCR 2021’s conference will offer multiple modalities for participation. It will be primarily an online conference but will also have an African “hub” at USIU-Africa, and satellite activities at various points around the globe.The various components of the conference include:

1. Online Conference Papers – Abstracts submitted in response to the section and working groups CfPs will be reviewed by the sections and working groups and accepted authors will be invited to submit short conference papers (1,000 to 4,000 words). These papers will be grouped into sessions and published on the conference website prior to the conference on a platform that will enable discussion the conference.

2. Section and Working Group Online Sessions – IAMCR sections and working groups will curate a number of video sessions highlighting key issues within their thematic areas of specialisation.

3. Flow34 – A stream featuring videos that integrate academic and aesthetic narratives. Proposals for this component will be reviewed by the Flow34 team. Topics can originate from the entire field of Communication and Media Studies. The selected videos will be scheduled and presented on the conference platform.

4. Plenary Sessions – Several plenary sessions streamed from the conference hub at USIU-Africa will feature contributions from around the globe. 

5. Special and Partner Sessions – These video sessions will be produced by IAMCR and its partners. 

6. Nairobi Hub – In addition to being at the centre of the global online activities, the conference hub, at USIU-Africa, will host a regional face-to-face event (in accordance with the possibilities afforded by the pandemic). The regional event will interact with the global at several moments of the conference. 

7. Other Regional/National Hubs – We are currently considering the involvement of other regional and national hubs and will be accepting requests from IAMCR members interested in sponsoring them. 

This call for proposals is for the Online Conference Papers.

IAMCR members will have full access to all online components.

The 2021 IAMCR conference will focus on the intersections of the global, national and local, and it will therefore address a core interest of the Global Media Policy Working Group. Since its inception over 20 years ago, the Working Group has explored the interplay between policies and governance processes at the global, national and local level. It has offered a space to analyse how these different levels influence each other; how a variety of actors interact within and across the local, national and global; how new norms and practices of regulation emerge; and how borders and boundaries are overcome, and re-established, in the shaping of communication governance.

The current historical moment offers multiple opportunities to explore these dynamics. The global pandemic suggests a need for cross-border collaboration, yet we are in the midst of recurring nationalism and unrestrained populism. The power of Big Tech is challenged by national policies (from efforts on anti-trust rules to intermediary liability), and data exploitation by transnational business and hegemonic state powers like the US and China is met by data protection regulation and calls for data sovereignty at national and community level. Content policies, e.g. on hate speech and misinformation, diverge radically across jurisdictions, while some policy issues enter global trade negotiations to avoid national regulation. Localised communication and media practices are coloured by international interventions (e.g., media development initiatives), while local policy initiatives intervene in international policy debate and affect decisions around the globe. What are, then, the contours of glocal media policy and communication governance, replete with negotiations from a range of policy actors across the global-regional-national-local spectrum?

We invite papers that investigate these dynamics in the making and shaping of communication policy, offer new empirical insights, theorise media policy in this context, and/or innovate methodology in addressing the global/local intersection.

Guidelines for abstracts

This call is for papers that will be made available to conference participants via the conference platform. The papers will be grouped into thematic ‘sessions’ to enable a focused discussion during the conference. Some (but not all) of the accepted papers may be included in video sessions and invited for audiovisual presentation. All papers will receive feedback by an allocated discussant, and critical engagement by other conference participants will be possible via the online platform during the conference.

Abstracts submitted to the Global Media Policy Working Group should have between 300 and 500 words and must be submitted online via IAMCR's online submission platform. Early submission is strongly encouraged. Abstracts submitted by email will not be accepted. 

The abstract should describe its main question or research problem; its significance; the theoretical framework; the research method; expected outcomes (or theoretical argument); and its relation with the specific topics addressed in this call.

Submitted abstracts will be evaluated on the basis of their theoretical and/or research contribution, originality and significance, sound methodology, quality of writing, and relevance to the work of this Working Group.

It is expected that authors 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 first author. No more than one (1) abstract can be submitted by an author to the Global Media Policy Working Group. 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. Any such submissions will be deemed to be in breach of the conference guidelines and will be rejected.

Proposals are accepted for both single papers and multi-paper sessions (the online conference equivalent of a panel in a face to face conference). Please note that there are special procedures for submitting multi-paper sessions. You can find the detailed procedures when submitting your abstract online in the abstract submission system.

The Global Media Policy Working Group may co-sponsor sessions with the Communication Policy & Technology section. Individual submissions for this joint session should be submitted to the Global Media Policy Working Group, including GMP/CPT in the title field.

If your abstract is accepted, you will need to submit your full conference paper (1,000 to 4,000 words) by 7 June 2021, in order to be included in the programme.

In addition to paper abstracts, we encourage proposals for innovative formats such as workshops or multimedia presentations. If you are interested in submitting such contributions, please get in touch with the Chairs of the Working Group (see contact details below) before submitting your proposal via the online submission system as we cannot guarantee that all formats are feasible. Please send directly to the Chairs of the Working Group a 300-500 word statement of purpose with a detailed description of activities, as well as any infrastructure requirements.


The Working Group accepts submissions in its official languages of English, Spanish, and French, though an English translation (even a brief summary) of your abstract will be much appreciated.

The deadline to submit abstracts is 9 February 2021 at 23h59 UTC.

See important dates and deadlines to keep in mind

For further information about the conference contact nairobi2021 [at]

For any questions about the Global Media Policy Working Group and the content of its upcoming conference sessions, please get in touch with us:

Arne Hintz (Co-Chair), hintza [at]

Claudia Padovani (Co-Chair), claudia.padovani [at]

Preeti Raghunath (Vice-Chair), preetimalaraghunath [at]

Veronique Wavre (Vice-Chair), veronique.wavre [at]