Media Law

Subject MECM30005 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment:

Total expected time commitment is 102-hours across the semester, including class time.





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

100-304 Media Law

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Assoc Prof Ingrid Volkmer

Subject Overview:

This subject introduces students to the main areas of law affecting people working in the media. These include copyright, privacy, laws restricting speech, such as defamation, censorship, and vilification, laws affecting advertisers, freedom of information, and the ethical codes applying to journalists and others. The subject emphasises practicality and problem-solving. The focus is on Australian laws but international comparisons will be drawn.


On completion of the subject students should have:

  • the ability to explain how laws in Australia are made, changed and applied;
  • the ability to recognise when a matter arising through work as a media practitioner raises legal issues;
  • the knowledge to know or find laws or legal principles relevant to matters arising in their work in media and communications;
  • the ability to seek legal advice, if necessary, from appropriate sources;
  • the ability to apply their own knowledge and that of legal advisors to deal with matters having legal implications;
  • the ability to critically analyse the appropriateness of existing laws and present arguments for their reform.

A copyright and defamation problem of 2000 words 50% (due week 8), a tutorial presentation and supporting paper of 800 words 20% (due during the semester), an opinion piece of 1200 words (800 word article and 400 word summary of references) 20% (due in the examination period) and tutorial participation 10%. This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% attendance and regular participation in tutorials. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

  • The Journalist's Guide to Media Law: Dealing with Legal and Ethical Issues M Pearson Allen and Unwin 2004
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • be able to present information and arguments clearly and concisely to an audience and in writing;
  • be able to analyse an issue from the perspective of stakeholders whose interests they may not share or endorse;
  • be able to participate in discussion and group activities and be sensitive to the participation of others.

This subject is not available as Breadth or to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts. This subject is only available to students enrolled in the BA (Media and Communications) and BA (Media and Communications/Bachelor of Commerce. Students who have completed 730-348 are not eligible to enrol in this subject. This subject is not available to students enrolled in the BA (Media and Communications)/Bachelor of Laws combined degree. Students who have completed 100-223 Media Law are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications)
Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications) & Bachelor of Commerce

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