Not available in 2020/21
LL4H3      Half Unit
Media Law: Regulating Newsgathering

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Andrew Scott NAB6.25


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time), MSc in Media and Communications (Media and Communications Governance) and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. 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.

There is a reading week in week 6.

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

Supporting texts for the course include Millar and Scott, Newsgathering: Law, Regulation and the Public Interest (Oxford University Press, 2016); Leveson, An Inquiry Into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press: Report, HC 780, 2012, Warby, Moreham and Christie (eds), Tugendhat and Christie: The Law of Privacy and the Media, (3rd ed, OUP, 2015), Flat Earth News (Chatto & Windus, 2008); de Burgh, Investigative Journalism (Routledge, 2nd ed, 2008). Many of these and other materials relevant to the course are made available via the BLPES electronic resources or online.


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

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Controlled access 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills