OII SDP 2007 (XXXIII): Legal (and non-legal) approaches to the regulation of “web media”

Student research seminar: Daithí Mac Síthigh

In this seminar, I discuss my ongoing research topic on how media/brodcasting law is changed – or changes – in relation to new, Internet-based media. While this is not a new issue for scholars of the media or freedom of expression, the current ‘transition period’ is certainly a fertile one for the researcher. Acknowledging the range of recent publications and studies dealing with the US, I focus on the treatment of new media in Canada and the European Union. In this presentation, the relevant legislation, regulations and proposals for reform are discussed, and a range of theoretical approaches are highlighted; I touch on the role of technological determinism in the reformers’ strategies, and note my ongoing engagement with the work of Harold Innis and its relevance to contemporary debates. I conclude with some general observations and questions on the challenges presented by this particular project.


  • Audiovisual Media Services directive
  • Telecoms
  • Media Pluralism

…vs. Canada

  • New Media Exemption order
  • Future Environment report
  • Mobile exemption oder
  • Diversity of voices

Harold Innis

  • time-binding and space-binding
  • the bias of communication
  • monopolies of knowledge
  • Toronto School
  • Intellectual father of Marshall McLuhan

Role of Technological Determinism in Law Reform

  • The influence/prevalence of technological determinism in the reform process
  • Analyse or criticise?
  • How much detail?
  • How much to explain?
  • Content Analysis or Narrative?

Technological neutrality

  • No “discrimination” between technologies
  • Regulate services not technologies
  • Canada: “section 3 mandate”
  • Net neutrality — danger!
  • “Non-Media-Law” regulation
  • Debate at WSIS

My reflections

  • I wonder whether, besides the geographical axis, a temporal axis could be added so other historic technology regulation shifts could be brought into the analysis, such as the changes the radio or the television implied for Law. Daithí Mac Síthigh states that it then becomes a problem of scope. Besides this, the shift we’re experiencing is richest enough to be analyzed on its own.

More info


SDP 2007 related posts (2007)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2007) “OII SDP 2007 (XXXIII): Legal (and non-legal) approaches to the regulation of “web media”” In ICTlogy, #46, July 2007. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from https://ictlogy.net/review/?p=599

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