LL4H2      Half Unit
Media Law: Regulating Publication

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Andrew Scott NAB6.25


This course is available on the MSc in Media and Communications, MSc in Media and Communications (Media and Communications Governance), MSc in Media and Communications (Research), Master of Laws and Master of Laws (extended part-time study). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course examines the legal and administrative regulation of mass media publication (principally the press, the broadcast media, and institutionalised Internet publication). The course is introduced with consideration of a number of themes that underpin the rest of the syllabus: the role(s) of the media in society (including conceptions of the 'public interest'); the main social, technological and regulatory influences that shape media publication practise, and rights jurisprudence (in particular, the freedom of expression and freedom of the press in national and international law). The course then examines potential restrictions on publication that are aimed at promoting or preserving specific private and/or public interests. The key private interests considered are those in reputation (defamation), privacy, and confidentiality. The key public interests considered are the integrity of the judicial process (contempt and reporting restrictions), the impartiality of political representations, the avoidance of offence (obscenity and religion), and national security.


20 hours of seminars in the MT.

There will be a reading week in week 6. 

10 weekly two-hour seminars in MT. The course is also supported by a series of specialist seminars with outside speakers, and by an online discussion forum.


Formative coursework

Students must submit an essay plan and working bibliography for the assessed essay. All students are expected to contribute to a series of class and online exercises, and to submit one 1,500 word essay.

Indicative reading

Parkes and Mullis (eds), Gatley on Libel and Slander (Sweet & Maxwell, 12th ed, 2013); 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), Nicol, Millar and Sharland, Media Law and Human Rights (OUP, 2009); Cram, A Virtue Less Cloistered: Courts, Speech and Constitutions (Hart Publishing, 2002).


Essay (100%, 8000 words).

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2015/16: 22

Average class size 2015/16: 22

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills