Policy

Media policy is about power—the power to establish boundaries, norms, and standards for mass-mediated visual culture; the power to decide which perspectives will be informing social discourses, debates, news, and entertainment; and the power to police the expression, ownership, and distribution of that content. In other words, policy is in many ways about the structural power to determine “who can say what, in what form, to whom” (Garnham 2000, 4). Policy is political and is often guided by dominant ideologies regarding technology, culture, and national identity. It is what dictates the legal parameters for the structure, content, and dissemination of television, radio, and increasingly streaming digital media.

In the United States, the origins of contemporary media policy can be traced back to the Progressive Era, when administrative agencies and trust-busting were on the rise, and “the world of ‘policy’ came to be defined by a search for a kind of …

This essay may be found on page 140 of the printed volume.

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