Media Law - 2017

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 2
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: No
  • Duration: 12 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP1 , SP2 , SP3
  • Availability for 2017: SP1 , SP2 , SP3
  • Assessment: Essay (30%) , Non-Invigilated Exam (30%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 793.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,043.00

Learn about legal issues relevant to professional communicators in the online era. The unit examines the ways the law impacts upon journalists, public relations practitioners, social media editors and other communicators as they report, write, edit, publish and conduct social media moderation. These laws include defamation, privacy, national security, freedom of information, source protection, contempt, court reporting, and  intellectual property. You will also explore the shifting balance between free expression and other competing rights in a modern democracy.

This unit introduces you to the legal issues faced by journalists. At the completion of this unit, student should have an awareness of:

  1. sources of law in Australia
  2. their rights to access information and to maintain confidentiality of sources and materials
  3. the legal implications of social media, blogging and other Web 2.0 publishing
  4. the legal restrictions on the coverage of crimes and court cases
  5. what constitutes defamation, and how to adjust your reporting, writing and editing to help defend a defamation action
  6. aspects of copyright that affect the rights of creators and users of original work
  7. competing public interests affecting free expression in a democracy in other areas including privacy, national security and discrimination
  8. work practices that will both enhance the quality of professional communication and minimise the risk of legal action.
  • Essay (30%)
  • Non-Invigilated Exam (30%)
  • Portfolio (20%)
  • Quiz (20%)

There are no prerequisites for this unit.

Note: Level 2 units normally assume an introductory level of prior knowledge in this area, e.g. from studying related Level 1 units or other relevant experience.

  • Broadband access

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Media and social media law
2Free expression and the legal system
3Secrets and sources
4Reporting crime and justice
6Writers and reputations
7Intellectual property
8Other communication laws

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Blogs
  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Embedded Multimedia
  • Glossary
  • Online Quizzes/Tests
  • Online assignment submission
  • Standard Media
  • Web links

Online materials

  • Online Assessment
  • Quizzes
  • Resources and Links

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit is part of a major, minor, stream or specialisation in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbook information for this unit is currently being updated and will be available soon. Please check back regularly for updates. Alternatively, visit the The Co-op website and enter the unit details to search for available textbooks.

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