Introduction to Media Law - JOUR5200

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Spring Term 5 15 (7.5) checkmark-circle


Journalists wield an extraordinary power in society. A single review can boost the career of an entertainer or end it. A single crime report can destroy the reputation of the accused, even if they are later found innocent. This module offers a basic introduction to the law as it applies to journalists in England and Wales. Topics covered will include: copyright and how it applies to newspapers, broadcasters and internet publishers; the rules governing crime reporters and how they guarantee a defendant's right to a fair trial; defamation and how the law protects people’s reputations, and under what circumstances journalists can publish potentially harmful facts and opinions; the legal protection offered to private and confidential information.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 22
Private Study Hours: 128
Total Study Hours: 150


BA (Joint Honours) One Other Subject With Journalism

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Essay 3,000 words – 50%
Examination 2 hours – 50%

Reassessment methods
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Indicative reading

Barendt E et al (2014), Media Law: Text, Cases and Materials, 2nd edn, Pearson
Hanna M and Dodds M (2016), McNae's Essential Law for Journalists, 23rd edn, OUP
Quinn F (2015), Law for Journalists, 5th edn, Pearson

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Understand the key legal principles relevant to the production of multimedia journalism in England and Wales
2. Identify key reference literature and sources used in newsrooms and be able to apply them to common news situations
3. Critically examine how media law in England and Wales upholds the right to privacy and protects from reputational damage
4. Critically examine how media law in England and Wales upholds the right to a fair trial and the protections offered to victims and witnesses of crime
5. Understand how copyright law applies in the production of multimedia journalism

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Use a range of established techniques to initiate and undertake critical analysis of ideas and information
2. Engage in meaningful debate about issues faced by media professionals
3. Use primary and secondary source material to present accurate and reasoned arguments
4. Correctly apply the law to simple scenarios
5. Consider and evaluate their work with reference to professional standards


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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