This module looks at political communication in a broad sense: not only institutional and procedural politics and formal structures of power, but also promotional cultures, the politics of dissent and popular engagement through screen culture and social networks. It starts by comparing media freedom and control in different kinds of political system around the world, and how power is exerted and/or controlled through those mechanisms. We consider what political communication aims to do, such as agenda-setting, deliberation, persuasion or manipulation, and how that relates to the central legitimating concept of 'the public interest'. The modules then looks critically at the notion of ‘the public’ and ‘public opinion’ as implied or constructed in communication mediated by the mainstream media and on the internet. Then we turn to particular forms of media reporting to interrogate the extent to which they serve the public interest, including scandal, fact-checking and expert sources, and human interest stories. Students will be expected to maintain an interest in current events throughout the semester and to be able to discuss current and recent examples of political communication.