ATS3445 - Communications ethics, policy and law - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Organisational Unit

Communications and Media Studies

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Elizabeth Coleman


Dr Elizabeth Coleman

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


Twelve credit points of second-year Arts units.




Privacy laws, anti-vilification legislation, classification codes and whistleblowing protection are major issues in contemporary media and policy debates. This unit will explore the ideal of freedom of expression, and the principles governments use to limit this freedom. The first part of the unit covers the reasons why we think freedom of expression is important, and the strength of the arguments used to justify it. The second part of the unit applies these ideas to contemporary moral and political debates, such as whistleblowing and leaking, privacy and defamation, hate speech, pornography, computer games, classification laws, and anti-terrorism legislation.


On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the main ideas informing policy and media debates about communication
  2. critically assess the arguments that justify freedom of expression, and the reasons this freedom may be limited
  3. understand basic moral frameworks and identify moral issues
  4. articulate a coherent position about a current issue relating to freedom of expression
  5. explain their ideas and justify their conclusions in oral and written contexts.


Within semester assessment: 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. A 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

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study