In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section New Media Policy

  • Introduction
  • Media Policy
  • Digital Media

Cinema and Media Studies New Media Policy
Danny Kimball
  • LAST REVIEWED: 17 April 2023
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 July 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791286-0235


Understanding the changing contours of media studies in the early 21st century means looking at new media. And understanding new media means looking to the influence of policy. The rapidly growing body of scholarship on new Media Policy—work informed by political economy, cultural studies, and social shaping of technology approaches—shows how no force has more power to shape the technologies, industries, and practices of new media like public policy. New media offer potential to disrupt established institutions and norms and the policymaking arena is a place where important ideological struggles play out that reflect and influence prevailing perspectives on social change. Further, the “path-dependent” nature of technological systems means that the laws, policies, and regulations that act on media technologies in their early stages have a unique capacity to enable and constrain the possibilities they offer to their users. This does not just apply to early 21st century new media but also to “old media” in the 20th century when they were new. This article’s review of cultural histories of media shows a pattern of regulation shaping emergent media that can be used to provide context to understand the current issues in Digital Media policy. A number of hotly contested battles around new media policy have been pivotal in determining the structures of the Internet and digital media, making the insights offered by studies of new media policy crucial to ascertain who can do what with the media of today and tomorrow. This article’s research addresses specific issues in contemporary new media policy, from Network Neutrality and Global Governance to Surveillance and Copyright, which are crucial to understanding these policy battles and their implications. Things change quickly in the fast-moving world of new media policy and so a number of sources of timely news and analysis on digital media industries and policies are also included. The literature on new media policy represents not only contributions to knowledge on new media industries, content, and users, but also implications for creativity, participation, and democracy.

News and Analysis

New Media Policy is a fast-moving target and scholars need good sources of up-to-date information to keep up. Luckily there is extensive popular, trade, and academic coverage of media and technology industries and policies available online.

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