Media Law

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 28 June 2024
16 August 2022


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA P500 Multimedia Journalism,
BA P501 Multimedia Journalism (Including Year Abroad),
BA P503 Multimedia Journalism (Including Placement Year)

Module description

This module provides you with a broad introduction to the law and how it affects the practice of all varieties of journalism.

It provides you with knowledge of the main legal issues encountered by journalists - knowledge you will need to apply in practice as you undertake all forms of reporting, in particular the proceedings of the courts. It also covers the regulatory framework within which journalism works, and frequently touches on ethical issues.

The module will enable you to sit the NCTJ Essential Media Law (early in your second year), which is an element of the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism. You will also be ready to sit the separate NCTJ exam in Media Law Court Reporting.

Module aims

This module aims to give you a good knowledge of the legal system, especially those parts of the law that relate specifically to the media, and a working knowledge of reporting in court. This knowledge is essential for every journalist. The financial and reputational cost of ignorance or error, such as committing libel or contempt, can be huge; the whole organisation is damaged, as well as the individual. The module aims to give you a thorough grounding in, and understanding of, the legal issues facing journalism and how to handle them.

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module, you will:

1. have a sound basic knowledge of the law, the structure of the legal system, and the way courts work.
2. be equipped to sit the NCTJ exams in Essential Media Law and Regulation, and Media Law Court Reporting
3. have built up a degree of practical experience through visits to courts and inquests, after which you will have compiled reports - either within the class or as part of your work experience programme.

Module information

General Reading:

Dodd, Mike and Hanna, Mark (2020) McNae's Essential Law for Journalists, 25th edition, Oxford, Oxford University Press

The syllabus is based on the key text in this area, McNae's Essential Law for Journalists, 25th edition, 2020 OUP, by Mike Dodd and Mark Hanna.

The subjects covered will include: contempt; anonymity (on grounds of ethics, age, sexual offences or jigsaw identification among others); accuracy; defamation; copyright; confidentiality; disclosure of sources; privacy; other ethical and regulatory considerations; filming in public places; status, responsibilities, powers of media regulatory bodies. You will also cover the Editors' Code of Practice and the Ofcom Broadcasting Code in the context of applying the law or these codes to a scenario.

You will be taught, and gain practical experience, of court processes and the workings of the legal system, and cover the specific instances in which reporting restrictions will or could be appropriate - such as contempt, juveniles in court, identification of complainants in sexual abuse cases and defamation in the context of court reporting.

Learning and teaching methods

Anticipated teaching delivery: Weekly 2-hour seminar


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Formative Assignment: in-class exercise and feedback     0% 
Coursework   Portfolio of examples of court reporting    25% 
Written Exam  Test 1 (Autumn - In-class) Week 11    25% 
Written Exam  Test 2 (Spring - In-class) Week 25    25% 
Written Exam  Test 3 (Summer - in-class) Week 34    25% 

Additional coursework information

In order to pass this module, you must pass each of the three tests.

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Alexandros Antoniou, email:
Dr Alexandros Antoniou (AU, SU), Dr Elena Sherstoboeva (SP)
LiFTS General Office - email Telephone 01206 872626



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 40 hours, 36 (90%) hours available to students:
4 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

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