Law Section - Call for Proposals 2021

The Law Section 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.

Information and Communication Technologies are essential for life in democratic societies but also pose several challenges for democratic systems. Some of these challenges, such as the spread of disinformation and misinformation, the moderation of harmful speech, or media concentration, have global and local implications for communication rights and freedom of expression and for democratic institutions and processes. For example, particularly through social media platforms, but also through other technologies, disinformation and misinformation can spread beyond national borders and can be leveraged by bad actors -both foreign and domestic- to interfere with electoral processes and delegitimize and destabilize democratic regimes. Disinformation and misinformation can also negatively affect other areas of life related to fundamental rights, for example, public health and safety within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, social media platforms operate transnationally and attempt to define the rules for expression and enact content moderation policies that are then applied locally, clashing with national laws and erecting barriers for appropriate legal responses to the negative impacts that some of the uses of essentially borderless technologies have on democratic systems, communication rights, and other human rights.

In keeping with the IAMCR general theme, the Law Section invites paper and multi-paper session proposals related to “Legal Responses to Global and Local challenges to Democracy and Communication Rights.” We invite participations that can contribute works that center around this general topic and explore what the law can and cannot do to intervene in order to solve or ameliorate problems related to the use of information and communication technologies in ways that negatively affect democracy. 

While we especially encourage submissions related to the above-mentioned topic, not all submissions have to address it or even the conference´s central theme. The Law section welcomes submissions on any on the topics described below and any other multi-paper sessions or proposals, whether related to the conference theme or not, from any theoretical perspective and using any methodological approach as long as it is related to issues in communication law and policy and media law.

Other topics the section seeks to explore are:

  • Human rights in the context of networks and technology.
  • The need for a redefinition of communication rights and constitutional law in the face of contemporary challenges.
  • Legal responses to disinformation and misinformation challenges related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • The role of social networks in political polarization and democratic delegitimization as well as the role and influence of disinformation and misinformation in such processes. 
  • The role of traditional media and the press in protecting democratic institutions, spreading or curtailing disinformation and in enabling or discouraging political polarization. 
  • Election law, including issues related to cybersecurity, the use of bots, political communication and campaigns through social media and targeted advertising, 
  • Algorithmic governance, including the governance of algorithms, and governance by algorithms; the use of algorithms in democratic decision-making; the role of algorithms in spreading and combatting disinformation; the use of algorithms in political and legal decision-making; algorithmic discrimination.
  • Artificial intelligence and intellectual property, including copyright; and
  • The right to be forgotten, privacy, and data protection law.

Guidelines for abstracts

Abstracts submitted to the Law Section should have between 300 and 500 words and must be submitted online via IAMCR's online submission platform. Abstracts submitted by email will not be accepted. Additionally, authors are asked to submit a brief list of references related to the work.

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 Law Section. 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.

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.


The Law Section accepts proposals for abstracts and multi-paper sessions in English, French and Spanish. Final papers are also acceptable in either English, French or Spanish.

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 further information about the Law Section, its themes, submissions and multi-paper sessions please contact: Rodrigo Cetina at rcetinapresuel [at]