LAW4316 - Media law 1 - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Not offered in 2017


The purpose of this unit is to identify and evaluate the laws which govern the way in which the media collect and disseminate news and information about the state. Core topics are: the media and the courts (open justice and obtaining information about court proceedings, suppression orders, contempt of court, journalists and their sources), the media and parliament (contempt of Parliament, parliamentary broadcasts) and reporting elections. Other topics will be selected from the following list: reporting on defence and national security (sedition, official secrets, reporting terrorism etc) and offensive publications (blasphemy, obscenity, the classification system, racial and religious vilification etc).


At the successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

Comprehend and critically analyse the laws that are covered in each topic in terms of their impact on the media. This will involve reading, understanding and interpreting primary sources - both case law, legislation, codes and parliamentary precedents - and demonstrating an ability to apply them to factual scenarios.

Have developed reasoned opinions as to whether the laws studied in this unit strike an appropriate balance between freedom of speech and other important public interests such as the administration of justice, national security and the protection of citizens from offensive material.

Communicate the substantive law, and their opinions thereon, effectively and persuasively, with minimal errors in expression, grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Learn and work with autonomy and professionalism.


A formative assessment task which is a non-graded hurdle requirement.

Optional written assignment (1500 words): 30% and final written examination (2.5 hours plus 30 minutes reading and noting time): 70%


Final written examination including a 20% research component (3 hours plus 30 minutes reading and noting time): 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. The unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


For students who commenced their LLB (Hons) course in 2015 or later:

LAW1111; LAW1114; LAW1112; LAW1113; LAW2101; LAW2102; LAW2112; LAW2111

For students who commenced their LLB course prior to 2015: LAW1100 OR LAW1101 and LAW1102 or LAW1104


For students who commenced their LLB (Hons) course in 2015 or later: LAW3111 and LAW3112