Freedom of Expression, the Law and the Media - JN511

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Medway Autumn and Spring
View Timetable
6 30 (15) MR D Acheson







Basic Introduction to the English legal system. Introduction to the theory of, and law relating to, Freedom of Expression. Defamation. Breach of confidence and privacy. Contempt of Court. Reporting – courts and current events. Protection of journalists and their sources. Censorship. Copyright. Freedom of Information and Data Protection. Official Secrets.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 42
Private Study Hours: 258
Total Study Hours: 300


Autumn and Spring term

Method of assessment

In-class Test, 50 minutes – 10%
Essay, 3500 words – 50%
Examination, 2 hours – 40%

Indicative reading

Barendt E (2005), Freedom of Speech, 2nd edn, OUP
Barendt E et al (2014), Media Law: Text, Cases and Materials, 2nd edn, Pearson
Fenwick H and Phillipson G (2006), Media Freedom under the Human Rights Act, OUP
Hanna M and Dodds M (2016), McNae's Essential Law for Journalists, 23rd edn, OUP
Quinn F (2015), Law for Journalists, (5th edn, Pearson

Journal of Media Law
Entertainment Law Review
Modern Law Review
European Journal of Intellectual Property
Communications Law
Privacy & Data Protection

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

1. Understand those elements of the English legal system within which the law relating to freedom of expression and the media is administered.
2. Identify the main literature and sources relevant to the law relating to freedom of expression and the regulation of the media, and to use key research techniques in locating and using those materials.
3. Identify the main functions and principles of law relating to freedom of expression and the media.
4. Understand the ethical principles underlying the notion of freedom of expression, its promotion by the state and also the restrictions placed upon it by the law in England and Wales.
5. Understand the tensions between the state's support of freedom of expression and the legal restrictions placed upon it.
6. Critically examine the role of a free media in a democracy.
7. Understand and critically examine the efficacy of the restrictions place upon the media by the law.

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