Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
LA10110 or LA30110 or LA15710 and LA15830 or LA35830
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 3 Hours. Three one hour seminars during the semester
Lecture 16 Hours. Two one hour lectures per week


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 1.5 Hours   Students may take into the examination any material except library/text books  100%
Supplementary Exam 1.5 Hours  

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module students should be able to describe and analyse the main features of the framework regulating communication media in Britain as well as the specific legal implications arising under discreet areas of law in respect of various communication media. Student should also be able to critically explain how media regulation seeks to strike a balance between freedom of expression and communication and other competing values. Finally, students should be able to describe and evaluate the central role of communication media and its regulation within society and how existing law is challenged by recent developments such as the Internet and technological convergence.

Brief description

The course examines the evolution of communication media generally and of mass communication more specifically, the role media plays within society, the arguments for and against regulatory intervention, the types of regulatory intervention in respect of different communication media as well as the various approaches taken in different countries to content regulation and the reasons for such divergence. Last but not least the course examines the regulatory challenges triggered by recent phenomena such as the Internet. The course content emphasises that media law is far more than the sum total of the points of contact between discreet areas of the law and the media.


The module introduces students to the legal framework regulating communication media to provide students with both the practical knowledge to assess legal problems and disputes in the fields as well as the theoretical insights in how the various and discrete legal fields affecting communication media not only shape them, but shape as well as reflect society as a whole. So the module objectives are, firstly, to familiarise students with the discrete areas of the law affecting communication media and their practical application and, secondly, to isolate the common thread underlying these legal areas. This in turn will provide the foundations for a critical assessment of the centrality of media and media regulation to society and democracy and of the challenges recent developments such as the Internet pose particularly to States which have traditionally tightly regulated the media.


1. Communication Media and Their Evolution
2. Freedom of Speech and the Media
3. Communication Media, Power and Democracy
4. Privacy and the Media
5. Defaming Public Figures and Bodies
6. Contempt of Court
7. Media-Specific Regulation and Convergence

Reading List

Recommended Text
Eric Barendt & Lesley Hitchens (2000) Media Law: Cases & Materials Primo search Peter Carey (1999) Media Law 2nd Sweet & Maxwell Primo search Sallie Spilsbury (2000) Media Law Cavendish Primo search Thomas Gibbons (1998) Regulating the Media 2nd Sweet & Maxwell Primo search
Supplementary Text
Barendt, E. M. Media law : Longman, Primo search Carey, P. Media Law edition 2r.e. Sweet & M. Primo search Feintuck, Mike Media Regulation,Public Interest and the Law Edinburgh U.P. Primo search Feldman, David Civil Liberties and Human Rights in England and Wales edition 2r.e. Oxf.U.P. Primo search Fenwick, Media freedom under the human rights act Butterworths Primo search Lessig, Lawrence. (1999) Code and other laws of cyberspace / Basic Books, Primo search Levinson, Paul Soft Edge Routledge Primo search
Recommended Consultation
Bradford L Smith (2000) The Third Industrial Revolution: Law & Policy for the Internet Primo search Fred Siebert, Theodore Peterson & Wilbur Schramm (1956) Four Theories of the Press Primo search Lawrence Lessig (1999) Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace New York: Basic Book Primo search Lilian Edwards & Charlotte Waelde (2000) Law & the Internet - A Framework for Electronic Commerce 2nd Hart Primo search Paul Levinson (1999) Digital McLuhan-A Guide to the Information Millenium London: Routledge Primo search Paul Levinson (1997) The Soft Edge - A Natural History and Future of the Information Revolution London: Routledge Primo search Wilbur Schramm (1960) Mass Communications 2nd Urbana: Uni of Illinois Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6