Media Law and Regulation (M3104)

15 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

Gain an introduction to the legal issues concerned with the mass media.You will learn about:

  • freedom of expression, what it might mean at a theoretical level and why it is perceived as important.
  • who has rights (whether freedom of expression or privacy) and the issue of against whom they may be enforced.
  • the various schools of thought about the application of law to the Internet.
  • the history of communications legislation in the United Kingdom, as well as essential case law.
  • the dual role of communications network users as both consumers and citizens, and the economic and human rights arguments pertinent to each category.
  • the case law and legislation of the European Union and the Council of Europe, as well as comparative analysis of US legislation and case law
  • the tension between protection of reputation and freedom of expression.

In this module, you look at how the media, as well as having rights, may also infringe the rights of others, especially privacy. You consider legislation including the Defamation Act 2013, Human Rights Act 1998, Communications Act 2003, and the Communications White Paper 2013.

You will also consider:

  • Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
  • freedom of expression and privacy issues
  • policy as implemented through case law at the European Court of Human Rights.
  • European Union case law
  • the Charter of Fundamental Freedoms
  • media regulatory practice in the European Commission, in particular the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS) 2010/13/EU.


50%: Lecture
50%: Seminar


10%: Coursework (Report)
90%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 26 hours of contact time and about 124 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: