LLM Programme

The taught modules offered on the LLM programme vary from year to year. Please check the full list of taught modules list for details of modules running in specific academic years. We make every effort to ensure that every module will be offered, but modules are subject to change and cancellation. You are therefore advised to check this site regularly for further updates throughout the year preceding entry to the LLM programme.

Credit value: 15 credits (6 ECTS)
Module Convenor:
Professor Eric Barendt
Other Teachers:
Judith Townend (City University)


This module compares the different ways in which the media are regulated and it explores the justifications for these differences in the light of media convergence. The principal topics are the concept of press freedom and the voluntary regulation of the press by the Press Complaints Commission and the regulatory body proposed in the Leveson Report; the BBC and the special regulation of the broadcasting media through the imposition of impartiality standards and positive programme requirements; and the legal position of the Internet, including the regulation of pornography on the Net.

The module also looks at cinema and video censorship, advertising regulation, and the role and effectiveness of competition and media mergers law.

By the end of this module you should (a) have an understanding of the different types of media regulation: statutory, voluntary, and co-regulation; (b) have formed views on how these different approaches can be justified in the modern multi-media environment; and (c) be able to evaluate the role of competition law in guaranteeing media pluralism.


  • Introduction to the module
  • The concept of press freedom: the rights of owners and editors
  • Voluntary regulation, the Press Complaints Commission and the proposals in the Leveson report
  • The censorship and classification of films and videos
  • The governance, financing, and accountability of the BBC
  • Programme standards and the principle of impartiality
  • The regulation of advertising and the role of the ASA
  • How should the Internet be treated? The challenge of media convergence
  • The liability/immunity of ISPs for distributing defamation and pornography; the role of the Internet Watch Foundation
  • Competition law; control of media mergers

Background Reading (optional):

Chapter 1, ‘The Principles of Media Law’ in Eric Barendt, Jason Bosland, Rachael Craufurd-Smith, Lesley Hitchens, Media Law: Text, Cases and Materials (Pearson, 2014).

This book is the recommended book for the course.

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment in September.

Delivery and enrolment
Lectures/Seminars: 10 x two-hour seminars
Tutorials: None
Previous module enrolments: Medium – 16-50 students
Who may enrol: LLM students
Prerequisities: None
Barred module combinations: None
Core Module for LLM specialism: Public Law, Human Rights Law
Final Assessment: 2-hour unseen written examination
Practice Assessment: An optional practice essay of no more than 1,500 words will be set and assessed mid-way through the course.

This page was last updated on 10 July, 2014


The application process for the 2014-15 academic session, for entry in September 2014, is now closed.

Information regarding applications for September 2015 will be updated on the website in September 2014.

IMPORTANT NOTICE : Updated 28 May 2014

The Home Office issued an update about the acceptance of ETS tests (including TOEFL). They have now confirmed that Higher Education students applying for a Tier 4 visa may use a TOEFL test taken after 17 April, if a Higher Education Institution is willing to use its academic discretion. For those students entering in September 2014, UCL will continue to accept the TOEFL even if it was taken after 17 April. However, if an applicant still needs to book a test then we recommend that they take an alternative test to TOEFL. Those who have already arranged to take a different test following the previous advice from the Home Office, we encourage you to go ahead with taking the alternative test.

The TOEFL test will continue to be accepted for 2014 entrants who have been asked to take an English language qualification as part of their offer condition, and do not need to apply for a visa to study in the UK.