About this subject
- Eligibility and requirements
- Dates and times
- Further information
- Timetable (login required)(opens in new window)
|Fees||Look up fees|
Media law is at once an established and dynamic field of law. This specialised subject provides a comparative and international law approach to media law, including international law, such as the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights and the African Court of Human and Peoples' Rights, and domestic jurisdictions including Australia, the United States of America, the United Kingdom and South Africa.
The theoretical underpinnings of media freedom are analysed, including the definitional question of what types of speakers ought to qualify as "media" or a "journalist".
The subject surveys the latest developments and legal protections in relation to combatting violence against journalists, focusing on the work of the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom.
We also examine laws that enhance the media in its newsgathering functions, including its ability to use freedom of information laws to access government and corporate information, to rely on the principle of open justice to access and report on court cases, and to protect its confidential sources. The subject also will explore those areas that inhibit newsgathering, including surveillance of journalists, and search and seizure of journalistic material.
Principal topics will include:
- Theoretical foundations of the right to media freedom and its legal protection.
- Safety of journalists.
- Freedom of information laws
- Protection of sources
- Open justice and broadcasting/ streaming court cases
- Surveillance of journalists
- Search and seizure of journalistic material
Investigative journalism and civil liability:
- Privacy and data protection
- Intellectual property law
- Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs)
Investigative journalism and criminal liability:
- Criminal defamation and insult laws
- Contempt of court laws
- National security laws
- The legal regulation and self-regulation of legacy media – print media, radio and television.
The regulation of new media:
- Applying existing content law to new media
- Regulating social media platforms (eg Facebook and Twitter) and search engines (eg Google and Bing)
- Regulating generative AI
- Litigating media cases : case studies.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject should be able to:
- Analyse the theoretical foundations of media freedom, including the definitions of "media" and "journalist," and critically evaluate different perspectives and debates surrounding these concepts.
- Explore laws that support and enhance the media's newsgathering functions, such as freedom of information laws, the principle of open justice, and protection of confidential sources, and understand the challenges and limitations journalists face in accessing information.
- Critically analyse areas of civil and criminal liability for media speech, including defamation, Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs), privacy and data protection law, contempt of court law, and national security law, and evaluate the impact of these laws on media freedom.
- Investigate the regulation of both legacy media and new media, considering the rationales behind such regulation and studying developments in various jurisdictions, including relevant legislation such as the European Union's Digital Services Act and the Artificial Intelligence Act.
- Apply practical insights into litigating media cases by examining leading cases in the history of media law in detail, discussing strategic approaches to media litigation, and exploring the ethical and professional considerations involved.
- Apply critical thinking, analytical skills, and legal knowledge to evaluate complex media law issues, propose effective legal strategies, and contribute to discussions on media freedom, regulation, and the protection of journalists' rights.
- Demonstrate understanding of the evolving knowledge in the area of comparative media law and press freedoms.
- Conduct comprehensive investigations, evaluate information, synthesise findings, and apply existing knowledge with creativity and independent thinking.
- Communicate and analyse complex legal ideas and theories effectively, both orally and in writing.
- Engage actively in critical analysis of contemporary issues within the field of media law.
Last updated: 10 November 2023