SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMM112660
Module Leader Andrew Tickell
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Law
  • A (September start)-B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Honours degree of UK University or equivalent

Summary of Content

This module introduces the student to regulation of the activities of communications media and those working within that environment and to the legal constraints on what information such media may obtain and disseminate. In particular it examines contemporary issues in communications and media law, such as regulating the gathering of information using modern technologies and dissemination of information in the light of the emergence and growth of the internet and other international communication media.


The following are the main subject areas covered by the module. The Legal System: Classification of law - public/private; civil/criminal; substantive/procedural Scottish legal system distinguished from English and other legal systems Scottish, UK and European Legal Institutions Sources of Scots Law Scottish Civil Court structure and procedure Scottish Criminal Court structure and procedure Tribunals and Inquiries Scottish legal personnel Finding the law - research sources Freedom of Speech and the European Convention on Human Rights/ The Human Rights Act Regulation of the Media: PCC Code of Practice OFCOM BBC The Substantive Law of Journalism: The Law of Defamation: What amounts to a defamatory statement Who may sue What defences are available Contempt of Court: Strict liability contempt Defences Restrictions on Reporting: Restrictions on reporting court proceedings Restrictions on reporting parliamentary proceedings Restrictions on Reporting Government including Official Secrets The Law of Copyright: What is copyright What type of works enjoy copyright In what circumstances may a work be copied The Law of Confidence: Confidential information Defences Privacy Data Protection Regulation of Investigatory Powers Freedom of Information

Learning Outcomes

Upon satisfactory completion of the module the student should be able to:- identify and understand the roles of the major players in a court or tribunal situation - identify, interpret and apply legal principle in the interests of journalistic accuracy- identify and synthesise the legal issues arising in practical problems- effectively apply those areas of substantive law most likely to impinge directly on the work of the modern journalist - apply legal methodology to evaluating regulation of substantive content of media products- appraise and synthesise legal concepts so as to construct a persuasive argument using recognised legal sources in justifying their application to a given set of facts - communicate confidently with legal experts on a range of legal matters - update their acquired knowledge in order to meet the demands of the rapidly evolving contemporary law

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The course will consist of two hours of formal lectures per week during the first trimester and a combination of two-hour formal lectures, or two-hour seminars in one class meeting per week, during the second trimester. The class may be split into groups for seminar purposes. Seminars will take the form of discussion groups. Assessment will be by means of one substantive piece of coursework (essay) and passes in the two external professional NCTJ preliminary exams in Media Law (Scotland), for which payment for the first sitting is included in the student's GCU fee. Overall failure below borderline/compensatable level in either or both of these exams will lead to a student being offered an equivalent internal examination for their resit in the normal GCU manner. Module pass mark: 50%

Indicative Reading

Essential Reading: McInnes, Scots Law for Journalists , 8th ed, W. Green, 2010 Other Reading: Armstrong, Broadcasting Law , Palladian, 2010 Barendt, Eric. 2007. Freedom of Speech, 2nd ed., Oxford: OUP Barendt, Eric & Lesley Hitchens. 2000. Media Law, Cases & Materials, Harlow: Longman Barendt, Eric, et al. 1997. Libel and The Media; The Chilling Effect, Oxford: OUP Carey, Peter. 2004. Data Protection - A Practical Guide to UK and EU Law, 2nd ed, Oxford: OUP Carey, Media Law , 5 th ed, Sweet & Maxwell, 2010 Carey, Peter, & Turle, Marcus. 2008. Freedom of Information Handbook, Law Society Christie, Moreham & Warby, Tugendhat & Christie: The Law of Privacy & The Media , 2 nd ed, OUP 2011 Clayton & Tomlinson, Privacy & Freedom of Expression , 2 nd ed, OUP, 2010 Collins, The Law of Defamation and the Internet , 3 rd ed, OUP, 2010 Crook, Comparative Media Law & Ethics , Routledge, 2010 Collins, Mathew. 2005. The Law of Defamation and the Internet, 2nd ed, Oxford: OUP Fenwick, Helen & Gavin Philipson. 2006. Media Freedom Under The Human Rights Act, Oxford: OUP Hadwin & Bloy, Law and the Media , Sweet & Maxwell, 2 nd ed, 2011 Goldberg et al , Media Law & Practice , OUP, 2009 Hanna, Mark & Dodd, Mike. 2014. McNae's Essential Law for Journalists , 22 nd ed, Oxford: OUP Nicol, Andrew, and Andrew Sharland, Gavin Millar. 2001. Media Law and Human Rights, Oxford: OUP Quinn, Law for Journalists , 3 rd ed, Pearson Longman, 2011 Reid, Personality, Confidentiality and Privacy in Scots Law , W Green, 2010 Robertson, Geoffrey, & Andrew Nicol. 2008. Media Law, 5th ed, London: Penguin Rozenberg, Joshua. 2005. Privacy and The Press. Oxford: OUP Smartt, Media and Entertainment Law , 2 nd ed. Routledge, 2014 Tomlinson, Hugh. 2002. Privacy & The Media: The Developing Law. Matrix Chambers Wadham, John & Jonathan Griffiths, Kelly Harris. 2007. Blackstone's Guide to the Freedom of Information Act 2000, 3rd ed, Oxford: OUP Whitty & Zimmerman (eds), Rights of Personality in Scots Law , DUP, 2009 Wylie & Crossan. Introductory Scots Law, Theory & Practice , 2 nd ed, Hodder Gibson, 2010

Transferrable Skills

specialist knowledge ability to apply knowledge logical thinking critical analysis problem-solving written and spoken communication self-confidence independence honesty and regard for others time management interpersonal skills presentational skills ability to work in teams and leadership skills flexibility independence and risk-taking

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Practicals (FT) 24.00
Lectures (FT) 36.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00
Independent Learning (FT) 60.00
Assessment (FT) 18.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 20.00 45% NCTJ Preliminary Examination in Media Law (Scotland) 1
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 20.00 45% NCTJ Preliminary Examination in Media Law (Scotland) 2
Coursework 0.00 60.00 45% Discursive essay