LAW 3535 - Media Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2019

The course will consider the legal environment which applies to the operation and regulation of the media in Australia and globally. Topics to be covered may include: defining the media for regulatory purposes, media ownership, defamation, privacy, freedom of information, confidential information, content regulation, international and comparative perspectives, contempt of parliaments and the courts, breach of confidence, advertising, and the online media, including social networking. Concepts such as free speech, ethics and access to justice will also be discussed. The focus of the course is on a critical analysis of how the law applies to traditional and new media.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 3535
    Course Media Law
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate Law (LLB)
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week (when averaged over the Semester)
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites LAW 1504
    Incompatible Law 2107 or Law 2108
    Course Description The course will consider the legal environment which applies to the operation and regulation of the media in Australia and globally. Topics to be covered may include: defining the media for regulatory purposes, media ownership, defamation, privacy, freedom of information, confidential information, content regulation, international and comparative perspectives, contempt of parliaments and the courts, breach of confidence, advertising, and the online media, including social networking. Concepts such as free speech, ethics and access to justice will also be discussed. The focus of the course is on a critical analysis of how the law applies to traditional and new media.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Judith Bannister

    Judith Bannister (coordinator)
    Telephone: 8313 34578 (work)
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    1. Analyse the advanced principles of media law, undertake self-directed legal research at an intermediate level, and
    evaluate complex legal information.
    2. Apply media law principles to complex legal problems through indidual work.
    3. Structure and sustain concise and cohesive written arguments for a legal audience in the field of media law.
    4. Conduct legal research in the field of media law.
    5. Reflect on their abilities to effectively undertake work as a legal practitioner in the field of media law.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    David Rolph, Matt Vittins, Judith Bannister, and Daniel Joyce Media Law, Cases, materials and Commentary, 2nd ed (Oxford University Press, 2015)
    Online Learning
    MyUni will be used to post announcements, post additional lecture
    materials (including slides) and announce assignment tasks. It will also
    contain electronic copies of the Course Information, Lecture and
    Seminar Guides, and Course Materials and a Question and Answer forum.Students
    are expected to check MyUni regularly to keep up to date with these
    materials and additional learning resources throughout the course.Course Website:
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Online lectures supported by problem-solving seminars developing
    material covered in lectures. Online lectures will be available on MyUni
    and must be viewed before seminars start. Recording of seminars is not
    permitted because students should be free to participate without
    concerns about being recorded.Seminars are a critical component of
    your learning in this course. The communication skills developed in
    seminars by regularly and actively participating in discussions are
    considered to be most important by the School and are highly regarded by
    employers and professional bodies. Most importantly, if you choose not
    to attend seminars, you will miss out on a good deal of the course

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Contact time: view 24 hours online lectures plus 12 hour seminars.
    This amounts to 36 hours of formal class time across the summer
    semester.Preparation time: In addition to attending formal classes
    it is anticipated that students will do substantial independent work to
    prepare for classes and to complete the course assignments.
    Learning Activities Summary

    Week Topics
    Week 1 What is the Media / Social media?
    Media Ethics
    Week 2 Regulation of the Media and Convergence
    Week 3 Defamation
    Week 4 Defamation
    Week 5 Defamation  and  Freedom of expression
    Week 6 Open Justice and Contempt
    Week 7 Privacy
    Week 8 Interception, surveillance and anit-terrosim laws
    Week 9 Whistleblowers
    Week 10 Classification, censorship and offensive publications
    Week 11 Problem analysis
    Week 12 Revision
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type (Group or Individual)
    Due Weighting Length Redeemable? Course Learning Outcome
    Media ethics complaint letter Individual

    2pm Friday 16th August

    5% 500 No 1, 3,4,5
    Defamation assignment Individual

    2pm Friday 20th September

    30% 2000 Yes 1, 3,4,5
    Exam Individual Exam Period Semester 2 65% (or 95%) 2.5 hours No 2,3,5
    Assessment Detail
    1. Media ethics complaint letter 5% 500 words
    This assessment is NOT redeemable. If students do not submit it will count for 0.
    Students will identify the work of a journalist who is bound by the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) Journalist Code of Ethics that they believe has breached the Code. They will draft a written complaint addressed to the MEAA, following MEAA procedures, that sets out the action they believe is unethical and the clause or clauses of the code that they believe have been breached. This is an assignment to be submitted for assessment and students are not requred to initiate an actual complaint with the MEAA.

    2. Defamation assignment 30% 2,000 words
    This assessment is redeemable but MUST be submitted. Students must achieve at least 40%, or a bona fide effort as assessed by the  course  coordinator, for the assessment to be redeemable.
    Students will research a case involving defamation in the media.

    3.  Final Exam 65% (or 95% if interim assessment is redeemed). There will be a 2.5 hour exam (with an additional 10 minutes reading time). There will be 2 problem based questions.

    Research assignment
    The assignment must be submitted in electronic form through Turnitin on MyUni.
    Students must retain a copy of the assignment submitted. 
    All references must be appropriately cited in order to acknowledge sources, and avoid plagiarism.
    Students should ensure that when citing material they comply with the Australian Guide to Legal Citation.

    Late Submission Penalties

    When an assessment is submitted after the due date, without an extension, 5%
    of the total mark possible will be deducted for every 24 hours or part
    thereof that it is late, including each day on a weekend and public
    holidays. For example, an essay that is submitted after the due date and
    time but within the first 24 hour period, and that has been graded at
    63%, will have 5% deducted, for a final grade of 58%. An essay that is
    more than 24 hours late will lose 10%, etc.

    Word Length Penalties
    5% of the total mark possible for a written assessment will be deducted
    for every 100 words (or part thereof) by which it exceeds a stipulated
    word limit. For example, a 3,000 word essay graded at 63% will have 5%
    deducted if it is between 3,001 and 3,100 words long for a final mark of
    58%. If the essay is between 3,101 and 3,200 words long, 10% will be
    deducted for a final mark of 53%, etc. Word limits include all words in
    the text, in headings, in quotations, but exclude citations in
    footnotes. Any separate cover page, table of contents, bibliography or
    list of sources is excluded from the word limit. If the word limit is
    misstated, this may be regarded as academic dishonesty.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Finality of Assessment Grades

    Students are advised that Course Coordinators will not enter into negotiations of any kind with any student regarding changes to their grades. It is irrelevant, in any given circumstance, that only a minimal number of additional marks are required to inflate a student’s grade for any individual assessment item or course as a whole. Pursuant to the University’s Assessment for Coursework
    Programs Policyand the Adelaide Law School Assessment Policies and Procedures, grades may only be varied through the appropriate channels for academic review (such as an official re-mark).



    In accordance with the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy,
    course coordinators ‘ensure that appropriate marking guidelines and
    cross-marking moderation processes across markers are in place’ in each course.
    Procedures adopted by Adelaide Law School to ensure consistency of marking in
    courses with multiple markers include:

    *assurance of the qualifications of markers, and their knowledge of the content covered ineach course;
    *detailed marking guidelines and assessment rubrics to assist in the marking of
    items of assessment;
    *sharing of example marked assessments at various grade bands across markers;
    *reviewing of selected marked assessments from each marker by the course coordinator;
    *comparison of the marks and their distribution across markers;
    *automatic double-marking of all interim assessment receiving a fail grade, and of final assessments where a student’s overall result is a fail grade;
    *the availability of re-marking of assessments in accordance with Adelaide Law School’s Assessment Policies and Procedures.

    Approval of Results by Board of Examiners

    Students are reminded that all assessment results are subject to approval (and possible moderation/change) by the Law School’s Board of Examiners. Assessment results at the University are not scaled. Under theAssessment for Coursework Programs Policy, students are assessed ‘by reference to their performance against pre-determined criteria and standards … and not by
    ranking against the performance of the student cohort in the course’. However, under that same policy, the Board of Examiners (as the relevant Assessment Review Committee for courses at Adelaide Law School) is required to ‘ensure comparability of standards and consistency’ in assessment. On occasions, the Board of Examiners will form the view that some moderation is required to
    ensure the comparability of standards and consistency across courses and years, and accordingly provide fairness to all law students. All assessment results are therefore subject to approval (and possible change) until confirmed by the Board of Examiners and posted on Access Adelaide at the end of each semester.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
    The University Writing Centre provides academic learning and language development services and resources for local, international, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students enrolled at the University of Adelaide.

    The centre offers practical advice and strategies for students to master reading, writing, note-taking, time management, oral presentation skills, referencing techniques and exam preparation for success at university through seminars, workshops and individual consultations.

    Lex Salus Program
    Lex Salus (law and wellbeing) is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at destigmatising mental health issues; promoting physical, mental and emotional wellness; building a strong community of staff and students; and celebrating diversity within the school. It also seeks to promote wellness within the legal profession, through the involvement of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the Honourable Chris Kourakis, as the official Patron of the program.

    Students can participate in the Lex Salus program by attending barbecue lunches, pancake breakfasts, knitting and crochet circles, seminars, guest speakers, conferences and other activities. Our Facebook page, website and regular all-student emails promote upcoming events, and have tips and information on wellness.

    Our Lex Salus YouTube channel also includes videos on topics like managing stress, and interviews with LGBTQ lawyers and their supporters which celebrate diversity and individuality. Students who commit to 10 hours of volunteering with Lex Salus in one year can have their service recognised on their academic transcript and through a thank you morning tea with the Chief Justice and law school staff.

    Student Life Counselling Support
    The University’s Student Life Counselling Support service provides free and confidential service to all enrolled students. We encourage you to contact the Student Life Counselling Support service on 8313 5663 to make an appointment to deal with any issues that may be affecting your study and life.
  • Policies & Guidelines

    This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.

    Academic Honesty

    Academic dishonesty is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the University’s
    Academic Honesty Policy.

    Academic dishonesty is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Academic
    dishonesty (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia to admit a person to practice as a legal practitioner in South Australia.

    Academic honesty is an essential aspect of ethical and honest behaviour, which is central to the practice of the
    law and an understanding of what it is to be a lawyer.



  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.