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JRM4906 - Media Law and the Ethics of Journalism

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Elizabeth Hart


Caulfield Second semester 2007 (Day)
Gippsland Second semester 2007 (Off-campus)


This unit provides students with knowledge of the legal and ethics issues relevant to the publishing industry. Students learn to distinguish law from ethics, to recognise areas of overlap, and to understand the theoretical and philosophical frameworks within which media law and journalism ethics operate in regulated and free media systems. The unit prepares students for complex judgements of the publishing industry, refines their propensity to apply general and professional principles of law and ethics in contemporary media settings, and enables them to engage in the contemporary, dynamic debates surrounding both these fields of journalistic activity.


On successful completion of this unit students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. An ability to research and write pertinently about the issues of law and ethics that govern the media systems in Australia and elsewhere.
  2. An understanding of the distinction between law and ethics and the implications for those involved in the publishing industry.
  3. An understanding of the ways journalists can carry out their work within the boundaries of law and ethics without compromising their role in the Fourth Estate. .
  4. Knowledge of the historical, cultural, corporate, political, and technological frameworks that underpin legal systems


Essay 1 (3,500 words) : 40%
Essay 2 (3,500 words ) : 40%
Seminar presentation (on campus students) Or Discussion paper (off campus students) (2,000 words) : 20%

Contact hours

1 two-hour seminar per week