Study Abroad and Exchanges



LAW3044 : Media Law (Inactive)

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


1) To provide students with an understanding of a range of legal mechanisms which impact upon the operation of the media (including print and electronic, commercial and public)
2) To increase students’ knowledge of the relationship between domestic (UK) media law and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and Court of Justice of the European Union;
3) To raise students’ awareness of the relationship between media law and political theory;
4) To enable students to analyse critically the effectiveness and justifications for restrictions upon media freedom;
5) To provide students with a basis from which to give sound advice in respect of a range of problem scenarios likely to be encountered in media law.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will cover

•       Welcome lecture (TB & DMS)
•       Introduction to law and the media (2 lectures – TB)
•       Recognition of journalists
•       Structure of UK media industry
•       Comparative models of media law and regulation
•       Role of ECHR and EU
•       Defamation and Freedom of Expression (6 lectures / 1 seminar – TB)
•       The scope of defamation law
•       Locating a test for defamation and determining meaning
•       Individual reputation and freedom of expression – the domestic approach
•       Individual reputation and freedom of expression – the Strasbourg approach
•       Reflections on the Defamation Act 2013 and looking ahead
•       Remedies in defamation
•       Privacy (6 lectures / 1 seminar – TB)
•       Understanding the Right to Privacy
•       Common Law remedies – Breach of Confidence and Misuse of Private Information
•       Privacy in Strasbourg – the jurisprudence of the ECtHR
•       Privacy, Celebrities and Children
•       Privacy remedies: solving the problem
•       One joint defamation/privacy seminar (problem scenarios – TB)
•       Journalism and the law (5 lectures / 1 seminar – DMS)
•       Contempt of court
•       Access to court
•       Restrictions on reporting
•       Protection of sources
•       Newsgathering and investigation (criminal law)
•       Media Regulation (6 lectures / 1 seminar – DMS)
•       Radio and television licensing / authorisation
•       Media pluralism (including mergers and ownership)
•       Cross-border regulation (cable, satellite and Internet)
•       Media in the Digital Environment (case studies – will vary from year to year) (3 lectures – DMS)
•       Case study 1: Everyone’s a journalist? Regulating user-created content
•       Case study 2: New regulatory bodies (e.g. Authority for TV on Demand)
•       Case study 3: Defamation, privacy and social media
•       Concluding lecture (TB & DMS)

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture301:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1641:00164:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The primary teaching method for the module will be lectures. This is justified as an optimal method by which to provide students with knowledge and understanding of key concepts and principles, both doctrinal and theoretical, within the field of media law. Examples from the world of media law will be presented (e.g. headlines, video clips). The lectures also present the opportunity to flag up overarching themes, as well as differing perspectives and points for further independent consideration and analysis. Finally, lectures will be used as a method for providing feedback on assessments to the whole cohort.

The five cycles of seminars will be used to encourage depth of analysis of legal problems and matters of controversy. In seminars, students will have the opportunity to share knowledge and the fruits of their independent study, give and receive critical feedback from/to their peers and receive further critique and feedback from the seminarist. Students will thus have the opportunity to increase their knowledge and the depth of their understanding of the subject, and develop both analytical and communication skills. Some seminars will involve simulations e.g. ‘legalling’ a draft newspaper article, or representing different interests e.g. celebrity, journalist, editor.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1352A67This examination will be open-book.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The use of coursework as an assessment method gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their self-directed research skills, as well as their capacity for critical analysis, the ability to logically and coherently structure an argument and demonstrate the depth and detail of their knowledge. The written examination will test students’ problem solving abilities, as well as their written communication skills, their ability to think quickly and to structure a cogent response to unseen questions, thereby assessing students’ subject-specific knowledge and cognitive skills across a range of topics included in the module. The written examination will be open-book. This is justified as it prioritises testing the application of law over the memorising of doctrine, which better reflects the nature of practice in the field of media law.

Reading Lists