MEDIA LAW 1 - 2017/8

Module code: LAW3087

Module provider

School of Law

Module Leader

SMARTT UH Mrs (Schl of Law)

Number of Credits


ECT Credits



FHEQ Level 6

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 1

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 122

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 6

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination 2 HOUR EXAM 100

Alternative Assessment


Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module overview

This module introduces and analyses the law governing the media in the United Kingdom. The first part will introduce students to concepts of confidentiality and privacy in common law and build on previous tort law knowledge. Freedom of expression and an individual’s right to privacy will then be explored in the light of privacy and superinjunctions involving well known celebrities. The focus of defamation law will be in relation to the internet, social networks and online libel; this will include the defence for operators of websites in such situations. An individual’s access to public information and data protection will be the focus of an in-depth study of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and whether it has changed standards in public life. Whether cyberspace can be codified and regulated is the focus in relation of cybercrime. The latter part of the module will examine the important area of contempt of court in relation to the sub judice principle, reporting on children and sex offenders in court proceedings and whether some of these laws are in need of reform. 

Module aims

This module builds on concepts of confidentiality, privacy and defamation in tort law and examines leading authorities in relation to media law and online publications. This includes concepts of ‘the right to be forgotten’, cartoons and the boundaries of the free press and balancing freedom of expression (Art 10 ECHR) and an individual’s right to privacy (Art 8 ECHR) as developed through Strasbourg jurisprudence (ECtHR) and EU Law. How the internet is constantly changing areas of media law, via social media, vlogging, blogging and tweeting will be the main focus of this module. Whether cyberspace can be codified and legally regulated in the area of criminal law will be examined in a global context. The module closes with a detailed study of the law of contempt in relation to court reporting and the open justice principle.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the common law of confidentiality and privacy in relation to the internet; KCPT
Be able to devise and sustain an argument within the areas of media freedom, the right to publicity and the right to be forgotten; KCPT
Apply and consolidate methods and techniques learned to review, consolidate and extend knowledge and understanding of tort law of defamation related to the internet. KCPT
Be able to solve problems, using ideas and techniques which are at the forefront of media law discipline; KCPT
Critically evaluate the law governing social media including online libel and cyber crime; KCPT
Demonstrate critical awareness and legal understanding of the law of contempt and court reporting; KCPT
Demonstrate the ability to manage own learning in the area of media law and to make use of scholarly reviews and primary sources, such as relevant legal journals in the media and entertainment industries, leading authorities and refereed research articles in these disciplines. KCPT
Demonstrate the ability to deploy accurately established techniques of analysis and enquiry within the discipline of media law. KCPT
Present oral and written argument as regular aspects of tutorials and the final assessment including leading authorities and statutory provision in media law. KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Indicative content includes:

Right to privacy: social networks
Press and media freedom (the right to publicity)
Defamation and online libel
Operators of websites and defamation
Freedom of information and data protection
Cybercrime: obscenity, extreme and revenge pornography
Open justice and court reporting
Children and young persons in court proceedings
Contempt of Court

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The module will be delivered by eleven 2 hour lectures and six 1 hour tutorial.

Students are expected to complete the Essential Reading for each tutorial. All lectures are uploaded on the Surrey University intranet (SurreyLearn) in pdf format in advance of each lecture.

Learning resources supporting the module:

The Student Module Handbook
Selected articles from academic journals, books etc., generally provided by online legal research facility (LexisNexis & Westlaw)
Surrey online learning support portal (‘SurreyLearn’).
1 guest lecture or talk by a specialist in the field (e.g. journalist; media lawyer etc.)

Assessment Strategy

A final summative examination will be required for the module. Formative assessment will also be provided in form of a ‘mock’ exam and test questions in the Module Handbook.

The teaching and learning as well as assessment strategies are designed to stimulate private study using derivative and original sources both paper- based and electronic sources, and develop an understanding and critical awareness of the essential principles and underlying ethical values and philosophies of the law relating to media law and journalistic practices.

Feedback will be in writing and if the student so wishes, verbal feedback following the formative piece of coursework.

Reading list

Reading list for MEDIA LAW 1 :

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Law LLB (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.