Journalism and Free Expression - JOUR8140

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2023 to 2024
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 7 30 (15) David Acheson checkmark-circle


Theories relating to freedom of expression and its protection as a fundamental human right. Extent to which the protection of competing interests (e.g. rights to a fair trial, reputation, privacy, confidentiality, copyright, sensitive state material) should allow freedom of expression to be restrained. Ethical issues arising from the work of the media, including how, if at all, the media should be regulated or controlled by different bodies including the state. Subjects will be studied with reference to English law, and laws of other jurisdictions (where appropriate) to give a comparative perspective.


Contact hours

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


MA International Multimedia Journalism (optional module)

Method of assessment

Assessment 100% coursework
Essay 1, 2,500 words – 30%
Essay 2, 4,000 words – 70%

Reassessment methods
Like for like

Indicative reading

Quinn F, Law for Journalists, 6th edn, Pearson (2018)
Barendt E, Freedom of Speech, 2nd edn, OUP (2007)
Crook T, Comparative Media Law and Ethics, 2nd edn, Routledge-Cavendish (2021)
Rowbottom J, Media Law, Hart (2018)
Oster J, European and International Media Law, Cambridge University Press (2017)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the concepts and theories relating to freedom of expression and its contribution to society.
2. Critically evaluate the debate surrounding tensions that arise between the desire to promote freedom of expression and the recognition that certain controls on it may be necessary.
3. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the role of a free press within society
4. Demonstrate a comparative knowledge and understanding of human rights law and the protection of freedom of expression in different societies
5. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of how journalism and the press may be regulated and develop critiques of regulation in its various forms.
6. Show a systematic understanding of the ethical issues that journalists confront and use original application of knowledge to interpret them
7. Identify and understand complex ethical/legal issues relating to the media and the role of journalists in society and demonstrate an awareness of comparative approaches to problems

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Use independent learning techniques to continue their professional development
2. Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving issues faced by media professionals
3. Advance their knowledge and understanding, make sound judgements and communicate conclusions clearly.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  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.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.