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:
Ms Siobhain Butterworth
Intercollegiate teaching: No
Teaching Method: 10 x two-hour seminars
Who may enrol: LLM students
Prerequisites: None
Barred module combinations: None
Core module for specialism: Public Law
Practice Assessment: To be confirmed
Assessment method for LLM students: two-hour unseen written examination
Module Overview

Module summary

This module compares the different ways in which the media are regulated and it explores the justifications for these differences. The principal topics are the concept of press freedom and the voluntary regulation of the press by the Press Complaints Commission; 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 .

The module also looks at cinema and video censorship, advertising regulation, the increasing influence on UK law of European Union law, and the role and effectiveness of competition and special 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 roles of European law and competition law in guaranteeing media pluralism.

Module syllabus

Introduction to the module
The concept of press freedom: the rights of owners and editors
Voluntary regulation and the Press Complaints Commission
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
The impact of European law: EU Audio-Visual Services Directive
How should the Internet be treated?
The liability/immunity of ISPs; the Internet Watch Foundation
Competition law; control of media mergers

Recommended materials

G Robertson and A Nicol, Media Law (5th edition, 2008), chapters 14-16
Lesley Hitchens, Broadcasting Pluralism and Diversity (Hart, 2006)

Preliminary reading

Lesley Hitchens, Broadcasting Pluralism and Diversity, chs 1 and 2 provide a good introduction to some of the topics covered in this course. You could also read Eric Barendt, Freedom of Speech (OUP, 2nd ed, 2005), chs XII and XIII.

Other information:

The reading list for each seminar will identify a few items (no more than four or five) – leading cases, statutory provisions, articles or policy documents – which must be read in advance of each seminar and which will be discussed during it. Other material may be read subsequently to the seminar, but may be referred to during its course.

Prizes for this module: There are currently no prizes available for this module.


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

Please refer to the How to apply section for information on the application process.