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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: International and European Law of the Media (LAWS11453)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIn substantive terms, the course will examine the impact of International and European law on, firstly, the structure of media markets and, secondly, the content of media services.
Course description 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 should 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.

The titles of the weekly topics are as follows:

Week 1: Freedom of Speech & Freedom of the Media from a comparative perspective
Week 2: Media Regulation and the International Law Framework: Human Rights, Culture and Trade
Week 3: Regulatory Strategies for a Global Media Market: Country of Origin or Destination State Control?
Week 4: Public Service Broadcasting - Still Relevant in a Digital World?
Week 5: Media Power and Concentration
Week 6: Free Flow of Information and Media Imperialism: the EU, WTO and UNESCO
Week 7: Citizen's Journalism - Protecting Individual Freedom, Ensuring Accountability?
Week 8: Hate Speech and the Limits of Media Freedom
Week 9: Privacy and Reputation in a Networked World
Week 10: Disinformation, Fake News and the Future of Media Freedom
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Please contact the online learning team at
Additional Costs Students must have reliable access to the internet.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 40, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 156 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written essay of 5,000 words (80%), a portfolio of contributions made to weekly online discussions throughout the semester (20%)
Feedback Students will have the opportunity to obtain formative feedback over the course of the semester. The feedback provided will assist students in their preparation for the summative assessment.

Details of the School's feedback policy will be available at the start of the course.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. attain a good understanding of the interplay between domestic and international law in the media field, as well as the role of soft law and self or private regulation.
  2. familiarise with the role of key international organisations such as the WTO, UN/UNESCO, EU and Council of Europe in the media field.
  3. understand the major challenges facing regulators as a result of globalisation and convergence and will have developed a legal framework, including a human rights framework, for analysing a number of key topical issues in relating to both the content and structure of media market notably media ownership, media imperialism, the protection of privacy and child protection.
  4. understand the rationales for protecting freedom of expression of both individual speakers and the media as an institution, and the limitations thereof (e.g. the competing rights to reputation and privacy; the issues of hate speech and disinformation).
  5. understand the interplay between technological development and freedom of expression; in particular, the new and emerging role of digital intermediaries in the context of enabling the free flow of information.
Reading List
A detailed list of key resources will be available at the start of the course.
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course aims to further develop students' abilities and skills in respect of:

1. Use of legal materials and legal reasoning;
2. Appreciation of law in its context;
3. Evaluation and criticism of law;
4. Legal research and intellectual skills of collecting, organising, evaluating and synthesising material and arguments.

Students will be required to develop their skills in managing time, working independently and together with others in developing an understanding of the field online, and taking responsibility for their own work.

Students will be expected to develop their written communication skills; both in preparing course assignments, developing different styles of communication (essay/blog/comment etc) and in engaging actively in online discussions.

Students will be encouraged to develop their skills through working with others to solve problems and develop a meaningful online dialogue on the issues raised in the course.
Special Arrangements Please contact the online learning team at
Additional Class Delivery Information This course is taught by online learning.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Paolo Cavaliere
Tel: (0131 6)51 5137
Course secretaryMs Clare Polson
Tel: (0131 6)51 9704
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