Postgraduate Course: International and European Media Law (LAWS11347)
|School||School of Law
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course will examine the impact of International and European law on, firstly, the structure of media markets and, secondly, the content of media services. The course will start with a discussion of the nature of the media, the media 'value chain', and the relationship between media freedom, freedom of expression and other human rights. It will examine the various international organisations competent in the media field and the regulatory strategies that are being adopted to deal with media convergence and globalisation. In relation to structural matters, consideration will be given to consolidation of media ownership and state funding of the media, in particular public service broadcasting. In relation to content controls, the course will examine attempts to create a more equitable flow of media content and concerns over 'media imperialism', the regulatory problems posed by pornography and hate speech and the balance to be struck between freedom of the media and privacy.
Students will attain a good understanding of the interplay between domestic and international law in this field, as well as the role of soft law and self or private regulation. They will be encouraged to think about the future role of law and regulation in a rapidly changing media environment.
1. Freedom of Speech vs. Freedom of the Media
This seminar will introduce the students to key international human rights conventions and the emerging practice relating to freedom of expression in the digital domain. They will also be encouraged to take a comparative approach and consider the level of protection offered the media in their own countries. In particular they will be asked to consider:
i) Do we need specific protection for the media beyond protection for freedom of speech? To what extent do international human rights guarantees bind private entities as well as states and do they impose positive as well as negative obligations?
ii) Who should be entitled to legal protection? Is there, for instance a difference between individuals/citizens journalist/ bloggers and professional media outlets and, in the latter case, who enjoys protection: the publisher, the editor, the journalists? Are there reasons to be more tolerant of content regulation re some media than others?
2. Regulatory Tools in the Context of Convergence and Globalisation
This seminar will consider the 'regulatory toolbox; in the media field, drawing in particular on the work of Lawrence Lessig. We will consider whether the traditional rationales for media policy and regulation still apply and the scope for technologically-neutral regulation. We encourage the students to develop 'value chains' for various media industries to understand the nature of the production process and the pressure points where regulation may be applied.
3. Structural Regulation I: Media Markets and Pluralism
This seminar will explore the basic elements of media economics and market structure: what is driving consolidation in media markets? Is intervention still required given the online information cornucopia? We will consider how concentration can be measured and the legitimacy of intervention to promote plurality and diversity: is competition law sufficient? Particular attention will be given to the US attempt to create a workable 'diversity index' and the WTO China Audiovisual Entertainment Products ruling.
4. Structural Regulation II: From Public Service Broadcasting to Public Service Media
What were the original rationales for public service broadcasting and what guidance is there at the international level for state support for public service media in the digital age? We will encourage the students to experiment with time-lines to plot show key stages in the evolution of this concept. The seminar will consider PSB models in a comparative perspective and the controversial nature of state aid regulation in the EU context. Could PSB be problematic also from a WTO perspective?
5. Content regulation I: Media Imperialism, Cultural Diversity and World Trade
This seminar considers the controversy over media imperialism, with particular reference to the idea of a new world information order and the attempts by the EU to promote European and independent audiovisual production. To what extent are these initiatives designed to pursue cultural or purely economic objectives? It also examines the role of the WTO and UNESCO in addressing the question of the free flow of media content, focusing in particular on the application of GATT and GATS and the Canada Periodicals ruling.
6. Content regulation II: limitations to free speech
In this seminar we will examine the legitimacy of restrictions on freedom of expression in order to protect individuals from harm or achieve other social objectives. The topic may vary to take into account current developments. For example, at the moment fake news is particularly in the news with concerns over political advertising and covid information, though in other years other topics may come to the fore. The seminar will consider how opposing interest are evaluated and the principles employed. How can states maintain their own standards in an increasingly international environment?
7. Content Regulation III: The Regulation of Intermediaries
To what extent are the major platforms, search engines and social media companies responsible, or should be responsible, for the content on their sites? In this seminar we will consider the approach that has been adopted in the past by the EU in the Electronic Commerce Directive and proposed changes in the Digital Services Act.
8. Content regulation IV: media freedom vs privacy
We will explore the potential conflict between the public¿s right to know and the individual¿s right to be ¿left alone¿. We will consider the central role of the ECtHR in developing European principles in this area and the role of the EU in developing the right to be forgotten.
9. Content regulation V: politically-compelled speech
This final seminar will consider the nature of 'government speech', the regulation of electoral campaigns; including the fairness doctrine and equal-time rules; and the case of 'diversity quotas'.
10. Review Session and Skills Evaluation
In this final session we will return to some of the main themes of the course and identify the knowledge and skills that you have been developing in your study.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
(* Component marks contribute to student's overall course mark/grade. The aim of summative assessments is to assess student learning).
1) 3500 Word Essay (60%) to be selected from seven options
2) 1500 Word Blog (40%) on a topic of the student's choice
||Each course will provide the opportunity for at least one piece of formative assessment with associated feedback. This will be provided within an appropriate timescale to enable students to learn from this prior to the summative assessment.
For the formative assessment, each student will be required to prepare a short summary and evaluative note (no more than 500 words) on a case or article to be posted on the course discussion forum prior to the seminar and to briefly summarise their findings to the group at the seminar. Feedback on strengths and weaknesses ¿ clarity, referencing and evaluative aspects - will be given to the student on their oral and written presentation. Students will be allocated their assigned topic in the first week of the course.
Feedback on both formative and summative in-course assessed work will be provided in time to be of use in subsequent assessments within the course.
Feedback on the summative assessment will be provided in written form via Learn, the University of Edinburgh's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Attain a good understanding of the interplay between domestic and international law in in the media field, as well as the role of soft law and self or private regulation.
- Demonstrate familiarity with the role of key international organisations such as the WTO, UN/UNESCO, EU and Council of Europe in the media field.
- Understand the major challenges facing regulators as a result of globalisation and convergence and will have developed a legal framework for analysing a number of key topical issues in relating to both the content and structure of media markets, notably media ownership, media imperialism, the protection of privacy and child protection.
|*Oster, J., European and International Media Law, (Cambridge University Press 2017)|
Keller, P., European and International Media Law (Oxford 2011)
Barendt, Bosland, Craufurd Smith and Hitchens, Media Law, Text Cases and Materials (Palgrave 2014)
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Knowledge and Understanding:
- Students should attain a good understanding of the interplay between domestic and international law in in the media field, as well as the role of soft law and self or private regulation.
- They should be familiar with the role of key international organisations such as the WTO, UN/UNESCO, EU and Council of Europe in the media field.
- They will understand the major challenges facing regulators as a result of globalisation and convergence and will have developed a legal framework for analysing a number of key topical issues in relating to both the content and structure of media markets, notably media ownership, media imperialism, the protection of privacy and child protection.
Skills and Abilities in Research and Enquiry:
The course aims to further develop students' abilities and skills in respect of:
- Use of legal materials and legal reasoning;
- Appreciation of law in its context;
- Evaluation and criticism of law;
- Legal research and intellectual skills of collecting, organising, evaluating and synthesising material and arguments.
- Development of these skills will be supported through the mid-term blog assessment and final essay as well oral discussion and critical evaluation of their research in the seminars.
Skills and Abilities in Personal and Intellectual Autonomy:
- Students will be encouraged to take forward their own research project in the form of a blog and will be set independent research tasks in selected seminars;
- Students will thus be required to develop their skills in managing time, working independently and taking responsibility for their own work.
Skills and Abilities in Communication:
- Students will be expected to develop their communication skills, oral and writing - both in preparing course assignments and in engaging actively in seminar discussions and on the course forum. Feedback will be given on these skills.
Skills and Abilities in Personal Effectiveness:
- Students will be encouraged to develop their skills in managing time, working independently and in groups, and taking responsibility for their own work.
- Students will develop a technical and practical understanding of the international framework for media regulation.
- They will gain a good factual knowledge of the field and an understanding of key principles and regulatory techniques.
- They will know how to analyse and apply this knowledge to concrete problems, taking into account the technical and political context, central in the media field. They will be able to communicate this information clearly and effectively.
- These skills will be useful for subsequent employment in private legal practice, for work with domestic and international civil society and regulatory organisations and in the media sector itself.
|Keywords||IP,Innovation,Technology,Media Law,LLM,Level 11,Postgraduate,Law
|Course organiser||Dr Rachael Craufurd-Smith
Tel: (0131 6)50 2061
|Course secretary||Miss Bethan Walters
Tel: (0131 6)50 2386