Communication Studies (CMNS) 202

Media and Power in Canadian Society (Revision 1)

Course cover

Revision 1 is closed for registrations, see current revision

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None

Precluded Course: CMNS 202 is a cross-listed course—a course listed under two different disciplines—with POLI 291. CMNS 202 may not be taken for credit by students who have obtained credit for POLI 291.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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CMNS 202 is not available for challenge.

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Canada's mass media have played a particularly significant role in the country's development as a distinct nation. The course is structured around issues of media power in Canadian life. It examines aspects of the Canadian experience in the context of current perspectives on national and international media developments.


Part I: Media as Roadmap of Nation

  • Unit 1: Introduction: The Canadian Communications Environment
  • Unit 2: Power and Freedom: Political Dimensions of the Mass Media
  • Unit 3: From Networks to Nation: Mass Media and Canadian History

Part II: Context. Reading the Map: Intersections of Media and Power

  • Unit 4: Monopolies, Megadeals and the Mothercorp: Regulating Broadcasting
  • Unit 5: Freedom of Information, Free Markets and the Law

Part III: Negotiating the Map: Media Content and Constructs

  • Unit 6: The Audience is Speaking: Diversity and Participation in the Mass Media System
  • Unit 7: Media as Mirror or Window? Social Differences and Freedom of Expression
  • Unit 8: The Daily What? Newspapers in the New Mediascape
  • Unit 9: Turn Off that TV and Make Some Policy: Issues in Broadcasting
  • Unit 10: Heavy Baggage: Old Debates in a New Century—Quebec

Part IV: Conclusion and Implications. Re-drawing the Map: The Future

  • Unit 11: Digital Media: Strangely Familiar
  • Unit 12: Conclusion: New Media Technologies and the Future


To receive credit for for CMNS 202, you must complete all of the assignments and the final examination, and achieve a minimum composite course grade of D (50 percent). The chart below summarizes the course activities and the credit weight associated with each assignment. A grade of 50% or better on the final exam is necessary to pass the course.

Activity Weighting
Reading Exercises 30%
Timeline 10%
Journal: News Survey 40%
Final Examination 20%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Holmes, Helen, and David Taras, eds. Seeing Ourselves: Media Power and Policy in Canada, 2nd ed. Harcourt Brace, 1996.

Siegel, Arthur. Politics and the Media in Canada, 2nd ed. McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1996.

Other Materials

The course materials also include a reading file.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, May 14, 2008.