LAW4140 - Media law 2 - 2018

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.



Chief examiner(s)

Dr Sharon Rodrick

Not offered in 2018


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; LAW3112


This unit considers why freedom of speech is important to the media and how it is protected in Australia. The unit also covers the three major restraints on freedom of speech; the law of defamation, the action for breach of confidence and laws that protect privacy, both incidentally and intentionally. These will be considered from the perspective of how these laws inhibit the media in the collection and dissemination of information. Due consideration will be given to whether an appropriate balance is struck between freedom of speech and other rights, such as the protection of reputation. Reform of the law will also be considered, particularly the need for uniform defamation laws.


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

Comprehend and critically analyse the laws pertaining to defamation, breach of confidence and privacy in terms of their impact on the media. This will involve reading, understanding and interpreting primary sources - both cases and legislation - and demonstrating an ability to apply them to complex factual scenarios.

Develop reasoned opinions as to whether the laws studied in this unit strike an appropriate balance between freedom of speech and the protection of reputation.

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