Not available in 2013/14
Media Law

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Andrew Scott NAB6.25


This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law and LLB in Laws. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

The course examines the legal and administrative regulation of the press and broadcast media. It focuses on four areas: the control of newsgathering practices, regulating content to protect private interests (such as those in privacy and reputation), regulating content in the public interest, and the regulation of media industry structure. The course centres on law and regulation in the UK, as influenced by European law. The course is introduced with an overview of two overarching areas: first, the media landscape and the main social, technological and regulatory influences shaping its development, and secondly, the protection of freedom of expression and freedom of the press in national and international law. It then proceeds to review potential restrictions on these values that are aimed at promoting or preserving specific private and/or public interests. The key private interests included are those in reputation, privacy, confidentiality, and intellectual property. The key public interests included are those in preservation of the integrity of the judicial process, the fairness of political debate, the protection from offensive content, and the protection of consumers. The third part of the course focuses on the regulation of journalists' newsgathering practices, and covers such themes as harassment, surreptitious methods (the 'Dark Arts'), cheque-book journalism, protection of sources, and access to state-held information. The course concludes with consideration of the structural and economic regulation of the media, with topics including the role and regulation of public service broadcasting, media ownership rules, and the application of competition laws in the media sector.


20 hours of lectures and 8 hours of classes in the MT. 20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 4 hours of lectures and 2 hours of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 essays in the MT and LT.

Indicative reading

Fenwick and Phillipson, Media Freedom Under the Human Rights Act (OUP, 2006); Robertson and Nicol, Media Law (Sweet & Maxwell, 5th ed 2007); Doley and Mullis (eds), Carter Ruck on Libel and Privacy (6th edn, Lexis Nexis, 2010), Warby, Moreham and Christie (eds) Tugendhat and Christie The Law of Privacy and the Media (2nd edn, OUP, 2011); Barendt, Freedom of Speech (OUP, 2nd ed 2005); Carey, Media Law (Sweet & Maxwell, 2nd ed 2007); Feintuck and Varney, Media Regulation, Public Interest and the Law (2nd edn, Edinburgh UP, 2006); Hitchens, Broadcasting Pluralism and Diversity: A Comparative Study of Policy and Regulation (Hart, 2006).


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2012/13: 42

Average class size 2012/13: 15

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills