Nicole Stremlau is Head of the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCMLP) at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies. Her research focuses on media and governance, particularly in areas of conflict and insecurity in Africa. Her most recent projects examine the role of new media in political participation and governance; media law and regulation in the absence of government or in weak states; the role of media in conflict, peacebuilding and the consolidation of political power; and how governments attempt to engage citizens and communicate law-making processes, particularly constitution-making. She is currently leading Oxford?s contribution to a large EU project on media and democratization conflicts. Stremlau's doctoral work explored the role of media during the guerrilla insurgencies in Uganda and Ethiopia, and how the successive governments used the media to consolidate political power in the aftermath of violence.

While Stremlau continues to research and write on Ethiopia, her more recent research has been on media and conflict in Somalia and Somaliland, which has received funding from the United Nations, among others. Stremlau is currently writing a monograph on the Politics of Communication in Africa. Her research has contributed to academic journals, including the International Journal of Communication and the Journal of Eastern African Studies, as well as to research by governmental organizations such as the World Bank’s 2011 World Development Report on Conflict, Security and Development.

As Head of PCMLP, Stremlau develops and manages international programmes on media law and policy, including the Price Media Law Moot Court Programme. She has established links between PCMLP with universities, law firms and media companies in India, China, Eastern Africa and the Middle East. Stremlau is co-director of the annual Annenberg-Oxford Media Policy Summer Institute, a researcher and author for the Horn of Africa for the annual Freedom House Press Freedom Rankings and an Associate Fellow at the Centre for Global Communications Studies, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.

While at PCMLP she has been awarded several grants for advancing her research as well as the agenda of the programme, including support from the Open Society Foundations, the United Nations, and the European Union.  She is a co-investigator on the project “Reframing Local Knowledge: ICTs, Statebuilding and Peacebuilding in Eastern Africa” funded by the Carnegie Corporation and recently completed an ESRC-funded project on China’s role in shaping the information systems in Africa.

Prior to coming to PCMLP, Stremlau was director of the Africa programme at the Stanhope Centre for Communications Policy Research where she initiated a led the East African Journalists Fellowship Programme, as well as research projects on media and election violence and public opinion research in Darfur. She has been a regular contributor to Janes Intelligence Review and has consulted for the World Bank in Addis Ababa as well as for Human Rights Watch. Stremlau lived in Ethiopia for several years where she conducted research and spent a year as a features writer at the Ethiopian Reporter.

Awards and Recognition

  • Research was profiled by the National Endowment for Democracy highlighting 11 of the most significant academics that have contributed to empirical understandings of the relationship between media and governance. (NED, 2012.   Is there a Link Between Media and Good Governance? What the Academics Say)
  • LSE Department of International Development Studentship for PhD (2004-2008)
  • Christopher Brodigan Award, Wesleyan University (2001)


BA with honors, College of Social Studies, Wesleyan University, Middletown CT.
MA, International Politics, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, UK.
PhD, Department of International Development, London School of Economics (LSE), London, UK.


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Research Interests

Media and international development; Politics in the Horn of Africa and Eastern African; Media, conflict and peacebuilding; Freedom of expression

Research projects