Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE The Media and International Relations

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT International Relations

DESCRIPTION The study-unit looks at political, economic and cultural influences on content and discuss the relationship between what is produced and made available in the media and the way media production is organised. We will discuss ownership patterns; the consequences of ownership concentration and conglomeration and their implications for world politics. We will be asking, what is the media’s relationship with power structures and their international interests?

The study-unit will also focus on professional criteria that influence the way in which news is produced and presented such as: the ideology of journalistic professionalism, news-value criteria and normative journalistic practice.

Moreover, state efforts to influence content will be discussed in view of above-the-line public relations efforts and covert spin tactics. Spinning tactics will be discussed at a national level and also in the coverage of international news and especially in the coverage of war. The fine line between news and propaganda in war reportage will be raised.

Terrorism will also be discussed in view of current concerns that the media do not merely inform publics but they can also play a role in the radicalization and recruitment of extremist individuals.

The relative invisibility but also the protrusion of “bad news” regarding poorer and/or less powerful nations will also be studied together with the power of the media to raise global awareness on humanitarian crises.
Finally, this study-unit will look at some efforts to extend media democracy within the international news flow mainly through alternative perspectives, especially through the diffusion of the Internet.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Understand political, economic and cultural influences on media content Explore the influence of the media of the way states relate to one another, especially in times of tensions or conflict. Competence to ‘unpack’ the way in which international politics is being reported in the media;
- Understand key theories related to the changing role of communication and information in the area of international relations;
- Understand the notion of “news value criteria” and its influence on the international news flow;
- Critically assess the role of the media in cultural globalisation;
- Understand the theories that explain how international communications flows have a growing role in reshaping global economic, political, military and cultural relationships;
- Assess the impact of ‘new technologies’ on the way in which international politics is unfolding.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Explore the role of the media in the cultivation of global public opinion;
- Assess the impact of ‘new technologies’ on the way in which international politics is unfolding;
- Critically assess the role of the internet in the diffusion of alternative perspectives and the growth of the Global Civil Society;
- Understand how content and discourse analyses of the media can serve as useful methodologies for IR research.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Curran, J. (2002) Media and Power. UK: Routledge
- Herman, E.S. Chomsky, N, (2002) Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. US: Pantheon Books
- Oates, S. (2008) Introduction to Media and Politics. Sage: London, New Delhi, Singapore
- Owen, J. Purdey, H. (Eds.). (2008) International News Reporting: Frontlines and Deadlines. UK:Wiley Blackwell
- Paterson, C. and Sreberny, A. (Eds.) (2004) International news in the twenty-first century, UK: John Libbey Publishing
- Sakr, N. (2001) Satellite Realms: Transnational Television, Globalization and the Middle East. London: I B Tauris
- Seib, P. (2008). How the new global media are reshaping global politics. Washington: Potomac Books
- Taylor, P. M. (1997). Global Communications, International Affairs and the Media since 1945. London and New York, Routledge
- Thussu, D. K. (2006) International Communication, (2nd Ed.). London: Arnold
- Thussu, D. K. and D. Freedman, Eds. (2003). War and the Media. London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi, Sage Publications


STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Carmen Sammut

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.