Media Law

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 27 June 2025
08 May 2024


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

The aims of this module are:

  • To give students 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.

  • To give students a thorough grounding in, and understanding of, the legal issues facing journalism and how to handle them.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Understand the foundational legal principles governing multimedia journalism practice in England and Wales, incl. key legal frameworks relevant to journalism such as defamation, contempt of court, privacy, confidentiality, and copyright.

  2. Analyse how media law and regulation influences journalistic practice, incl. reporting on crime, public figures, sensitive topics and other ethical considerations.

  3. Apply basic legal and ethical reasoning to common news gathering practices.

  4. Acquire an introductory understanding of court reporting, including court hierarchy, basic court procedures and reporting restrictions in accordance with the law.

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   Court-reporting portfolio, 3 reports x 250w, Week 33    40% 
Written Exam  In-class Test on Court Reporting, 1hr 30mins, Week 11    30% 
Written Exam  In-class Test on Essential Media Law & Regulation, 1hr 30mins, Week 25    30% 

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

Prof Jairo Alfonso Lugo-Ocando
College of Communication, University of Sharjah, UAE
Dean and Professor of Journalism
Available via Moodle
Of 48 hours, 40 (83.3%) hours available to students:
8 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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