Media Law and Regulation

Module code: M3104
Level 6
15 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Lecture, Seminar
Assessment modes: Essay, Coursework

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.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate ability to plan and present a short schematic of a contemporary problem in mass media law, including leading and contemporary sources.
  • Demonstrate a familiarity with the competing philosophical perspectives on the application of law to mass media.
  • Demonstrate recognition of how the laws that pertain to the regulation of the mass media reflect both economic and rights-based (such as privacy and freedom of expression) issues.
  • Demonstrate an applied knowledge of the concepts of mass media, the solution to liability concerns for different categories of publishers and authors, and the comparative enforcement of laws pertaining to defamation and privacy.