Critical Review of an Official Policy Document
A critical review of an official policy document
35% of the overall module assessment
Due: Thursday 25 November
You will write a 1500-1800 word critical review of an official policy document. Your critical review should describe and critically evaluate (1) the policy issue(s) the document focuses on; (2) the policy goals and values the document promotes; and (3) the policy actions it supports.
You may select to review one of the following documents for the assessment:
Cairncross, F. 2019. The Cairncross review: a sustainable future for journalism. [Online]. [Accessed 22 September 2020]. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/779882/021919_DCMS_Cairncross_Review_.pdf.
Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. 2020. National data strategy. [Online]. [Accessed 20 September 2021]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-national-data-strategy/national-data-strategy.
HM Government. 2019. Online harms white paper. [Online]. [Accessed 22 September 2020]. London: The Stationery Office. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/793360/Online_Harms_White_Paper.pdf .
Ofcom. 2019. Diversity and equal opportunities in television: Monitoring report on the UK-based broadcasting industry. [Accessed 22 September 2020]. Available at: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0028/166807/Diversity-in-TV-2019.pdf
Ofcom. 2021. Five-year review: Diversity and equal opportunities in UK broadcasting. [Accessed 8 October 2021]. Available at: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0029/225992/dib-five-years-2021.pdf
Ofcom, 2021. Small screen: big debate. Recommendations to government on the future of public service media. [Accessed 20 September 2021]. Available at: https://www.smallscreenbigdebate.co.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0023/221954/statement-future-of-public-service-media.pdf
Ofcom, 2021. The future of media plurality in the UK: Including Ofcom’s consultation on the media ownership rules review. [Accessed 20 September 2021]. Available at: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/220710/media-plurality-in-the-uk-condoc.pdf.
Preparing your critical review
You should read the whole document you are reviewing carefully, so you understand and can describe the key points the document makes accurately. As you develop your critical analysis, consider the following questions:
• What type of document are you reviewing? Who produced it and how might this might inform its contents?
• What policy issue or issues does the document focus on?
• How does it understand this issue or issues?
• What goals is it trying to achieve?
• What values does it draw upon?
• Are any important considerations or values excluded or downplayed?
• What specific policy actions are proposed to achieve these policy goals?
• Do you think the proposals are appropriate?
• Will they be effective?
• What alternative actions could and should be considered?
To help you answer these questions, you should draw on a range of sources:
• relevant academic literature (academic journal articles and books)
• other official policy documents (search, e.g., www.gov.uk, www.parliament.uk, www.ofcom.org.uk, information commissioner’s office)
• consultation responses where relevant
• relevant blogs (LSE Media Policy Project Blog and The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog)
• lecture and seminar material
The reading list has several recommended readings in relevant topics areas as well as useful general sources. You are also expected to research your policy area and locate appropriate references independently.
When you write up the assessment, you should aim to develop a clear argument that explains the key critical points you want to make. Here is a basic structure of section headings you might follow:
Policy issue or issues (raised by the policy document you are reviewing)
Policy recommendations (proposed by the policy document you are reviewing)