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This subject examines the core legal constraints imposed on the media in their publishing activities. The first part of the course requires students to analyse and evaluate broad principles relating to freedom of speech and public interest and their application to the media. It also examines the greater role that the legal protection of human rights, especially in the international context, has played in the development of media law. The second part of the course explores the constraints that are imposed on the media in their reporting of court proceedings, including contempt of court and the issuing of suppression orders by the courts. The third part of the course comprises a comparative, in-depth examination of the law of defamation across Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. It also draws on case studies from other jurisdictions, such as Canada and South Africa. The final part of the course looks at privacy and the media. It considers the current state of privacy protection in Australia, and requires students to undertake a critical, comparative analysis of the position in Australia and recent developments in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have a detailed and sophisticated understanding of the general principles governing freedom of speech, the public interest and the media;
- have a detailed, technical and specialised understanding of the constraints imposed on the media in the reporting of court proceedings;
- have developed expert knowledge of the practical operation of the law of contempt of court in Australia;
- have a detailed, technical and specialised understanding of defamation law in Australia and comparatively;
- have developed expert knowledge of the practical operation of defamation law in Australia and comparatively;
- have a detailed, technical and specialised understanding of privacy law in Australia and comparatively;
- have developed expert knowledge of the practical operation of privacy law in Australia and comparatively;
- have developed the ability to independently understand, research and critically analyse legal and scholarly developments that contribute to professional practice in the area of media law; and
- have developed the ability to communicate their analysis of the law and its application to specialist and non-specialist audiences in appropriate scholarly and professional formats.
On completion of the subject students should have developed the following skills:
- Mastery of the principal areas of media law (such as defamation, contempt, privacy and freedom of speech) as well as associated theoretical material;
- expert, specialised cognitive and technical skills for critical and independent thought and reflection in the area of media law and practice;
- mastery of technical research skills relevant to media law;
- expert, specialised cognitive, creative and technical skills to solve problems, including through the critical evaluation of research relevant to the area of media law and practice; and
- the ability to expertly communicate specialised and complex information, ideas, concepts and theories relevant to media law and practice.
Last updated: 2 December 2019