Law, Regulation and Governance (P4096)

30 credits, Level 5

Autumn teaching

This module aims to develop your practical and critical understanding of ethical and legal duties, regulatory issues, reporting restrictions and guidelines for journalists. It will cover the major codes of conduct in the news industry, particularly those used by the BBC, the Independent Television Company, Ofcom, the Standards Commission, the National Union of Journalists and the Press Complaints Commission.

In relation to journalism ethics, it will cover legal constraints on what journalists may or may not do – eg defamation and contempt laws, how matters can be published in the public interest, and how journalists can challenge invalid restrictions. Freedom of Information law will also be addressed and you will be encouraged to make your own submissions to authorities leading to exclusive news stories for publication. You will also be given the opportunity to reflect critically on legal and ethical regulation issues in the field of journalism.


31%: Lecture
69%: Seminar


60%: Coursework (Essay, Project)
40%: Examination (Computer-based examination)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 30 hours of contact time and about 270 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 COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.