LL4H3      Half Unit
Media Law: Regulating Newsgathering

This information is for the 2015/16 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 as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is capped at 30 students. Students must apply through Graduate Course Choice on LSEforYou.

Course content

This course examines the legal and administrative regulation of newsgathering and content production practices undertaken by journalists and others working in the media sector. 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 newsgathering practise, and rights jurisprudence (in particular, the freedom of expression and freedom of the press in national and international law). The course then examines a number of newsgathering practices that are either facilitated or proscribed by law and/or other forms of regulation. These include the protection of sources and journalistic materials; 'cheque-book journalism' (including payments to witnesses and to criminals); access to information held by the state (freedom of information); access to courts and legal documents; media-police interaction; harassment and media intrusion, and the regulation of surreptitious newsgathering practices (hacking, tapping and subterfuge).


20 hours of seminars in the LT.

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 formative essay.

Indicative reading

Millar and Scott, Newsgathering: Law, Regulation and the Public Interest (OUP, 2015 forthcoming); Robertson and Nicol, Media Law (Sweet & Maxwell, 5th ed 2007), Warby, Moreham and Christie (eds), Tugendhat and Christie: The Law of Privacy and the Media, (2nd ed, OUP, 2011), Nicol, Millar and Sharland, Media Law and Human Rights (OUP, 2009), Burden, News of the World?: Fake Sheikhs and Royal Trappings (Eye Books, 2008), Davies, Flat Earth News (Chatto & Windus, 2008); de Burgh, Investigative Journalism (Routledge, 2nd ed, 2008).


Essay (100%, 8000 words) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2014/15: 5

Average class size 2014/15: 5

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills