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Strategies for Media ReformInternational Perspectives$
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Des Freedman, Jonathan Obar, Cheryl Martens, and Robert W. McChesney

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823271641

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823271641.001.0001

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Policy Hacking

Policy Hacking

Citizen-based Policy-Making and Media Reform

(p.223) Chapter Eighteen Policy Hacking
Strategies for Media Reform

Arne Hintz

Fordham University Press

Policy hacking is a media reform strategy that focuses on citizen-based do-it-yourself policy alternatives and the development of new law and regulation. Typically it encompasses a) collecting and analysing existing policies (often from other countries) and b) re-assembling these components towards a new policy package. Often it involves digital tools to crowd-source contributions from a wider range of civil society. It thereby moves beyond classic forms of advocacy, lobbying and public pressure aimed at authorities and assigns a central role in the policy process (including both policy development and policy transfer) to civil society actors. Involving loose networks and informal coalitions, policy hacking relates to the recent rise of “connective action” and “organised networks” in the civil society realm, and it is based on a tendency toward prefigurative action that is wide-spread in media activism (e.g., the development of alternative infrastructure). Policy hacking is often embedded in traditional advocacy and/or protest strategies. It is context-specific and typically requires beneficial policy windows (such as a political or economic crisis) to be successful. Yet as part of a broader strategic and tactical mix it can play a significant role in future efforts to affect and achieve media reform.

Keywords:   civic hacking, communication, governance, hacking, hacktivism, media, open data, policy

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