Page Navigation

Module Descriptors

This page displays the selected Module Descriptor.

Printer friendly version Printer friendly version

Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 14/06/2022 10:31:31

Title of Module: Media and the Law

Code: LAWW09030 SCQF Level: 9
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Business & Creative Industries
Module Co-ordinator:Mhairi  Campbell

Summary of Module

This module will provide students with the opportunity for students to learn in depth and understanding of the issues surrounding the law and the Media in the UK.

Media and the Law module will be delivered over 12 weeks giving students the opportunity to gain a thorough of the legal principles and concepts which have an impact upon the activities of the media industry. This will facilitate the students critical understanding of the media and the regulatory structures which impinge upon it.

The topics which will be covered include:

The role and function of regulatory bodies including the Independent Press Standards Organisation, Ofcorn and the Advertising Standards Authority.

The application of the law contempt of court, defamation and verbal injury in relation to both print and broadcast media; rights and responsibilities of court reporters in reporting both civil and criminal cases.

Media reporting restrictions concerning cases involving children, custody cases, matrimonial cases, cases relating to sexual offences.

The jurisdiction and procedures of Children's Hearings, Fatal Accident Inquiries and Tribunals and Inquiries and the media reporting restrictions which apply to them.

Protection of state secrets – an examination of Official Secrets legislation and DA-Notices and the implications for the media in contravening such legislation.

The impact of data protection legislation on the ability of the media to gather information.

Copyright issues affecting the media

Freedom of Information.

Breach of confidence, privacy and the impact on media reporting.

  • To discuss and assess ownership and liability within the media industry.

  • To Critically analyse the impact which external agencies and judicial bodies have in enforcing regulatory mechanisms.

  • To evidence the ability to conduct critical legal evaluation and analysis within the area of media law.

  • To analyse the substantive legal issues concerning the control and distribution of published material.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
check markcheck mark

Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
check mark





check mark


Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


[Top of Page]

Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Outline, explain and analyse the law of contempt of court in relation to specific circumstances.

L2. Outline, explain and analyse the law of defamation and verbal injury in relation to specific circumstances.

L3. Outline and explain the impact of the various areas of law that place reporting restrictions on the media.

L4. Outline and explain the impact on the media of the laws of copyright, data protection, freedom of information and breach of confidence.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 9.

Understanding the main principles of Media Law;
The main specialist topics within the general subject area;
Identifying, analysing and putting into context current legal issues within Media Law.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 9.

Interpreting and explaining legal concepts;
Retrieving, interpreting and manipulating primary and secondary information from a variety of sources including electronic sources

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 9.

Giving reasoned opinions, identifying flaws in arguments and discriminating between the legally relevant and irrelevant.
Bringing together information from a variety of primary and secondary legal sources.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 9.

Communicating effectively and appropriately in speech and writing;
Interpreting complex primary legal materials.
Making effective use of information retrieval systems and using information technology applications to present documents in an appropriate form.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 9.

Exercising and applying appropriate learning and research skills with minimum supervision.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

[Top of Page]

Learning and Teaching
This module will be delivered by means of twelve interactive seminars lasting two hours, these will be
supported by way of six pre-recorded lectures. These seminars are intended to enable students to develop their
skills in critical thinking, analysis and reasoning. Students are expected to prepare fully in advance of each
weekly seminar and will be expected to present to the class in a number of ways at times during the trimester,
individually and in groups.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity24
Asynchronous Class Activity12
Independent Study164
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Bloy, D. & Hadwin, S., Law and the Media (2nd edition, Sweet & Maxwell 2011)

Dodd, M. and Hanna, M., McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists (25th edition, Oxford University Press 2020)

McInnes, R., Scots Law for Journalists (8th edition, W Green 2010)*

Quinn, F., Law for Journalists: A Guide to Media Law (6th edition, Pearson 2018)

Robertson, G. and Nicol, A., Media Law (5th edition, Penguin 2008)

Rowbottom, J., Media Law (Hart Publishing 2018)

Smartt, U., Media & Entertainment Law (4th edition, Routledge 2019)

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
Attendance at seminars, completion of activities on the VLE, participation in class discussions, assessment submissions.

[Top of Page]

Supplemental Information

Programme BoardAccounting, Finance and Law
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelAFL
ModeratorClive Mitchell
External Examiner
Accreditation Details
Version Number


[Top of Page]

Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
An assignment worth 80% of the final mark covering the law of contempt of court (and associated reporting restrictions) and the law of defamation and associated actions.
An online group presentation worth 20% of the final mark covering areas including, but not limited to, reporting restrictions, official secrets legislation, copyright, data protection, freedom of information and breach of confidence issues.
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essaycheck markcheck mark  800

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Presentationcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark200
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

[Top of Page]

  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
The Equality, Diversity and Human Rights policy underpins student engagement. We aim to make UWS a fair
and equal place to study an institution which addresses specific issues covering all aspects of equality, diversity
and human rights. Where required module assessment will be adapted to meet student requirements.
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.