Subject details

This subject introduces you to the legal issues faced by journalists, public relations practitioners and othr public communicators. At the completion of this subject, students 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.
  • Topics

    • Media Law in the Web 2.0 era
    • eFree expression and minful practic
    • Legal and regulatory systems and principles
    • Open justice and freedom of information
    • Contempt of court
    • Identifying defamation
    • Defending defamation
    • Keeping secrets: confidentiality and sources
    • Anti-terrorism and hate laws
    • Intellectual property: protecting your work and using the work of others
    • Privacy
    • The law of public relations, freelancing and new media entrepreneurship
  • Study resources

    • Instructional Methods

      • Blog
      • Disscusion forum/Discussion Board
      • Embedded Multimedia
      • Glossary
      • Online Quizzes/Tests
      • Online assignment submission
      • Standard Media
      • Web links
    • Online Materials

      • Resources and Links
      • Online Assessment
      • Quizzes

Entry Requirements


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

Special requirements

No special requirements

Learn about legal issues relevant to professional communicators in the online era. The subject 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.

  • Assignment 1 - Essay (25%)
  • Assignment 2 - Portfolio (25%)
  • Assignment 3 - Quiz (10%)
  • Assignment 4 - Non-Invigilated Exam (40%)

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a subject.

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