The course will consider the following key topics:
- Media ownership and legal control thereof
- The importance of content (internal) plurality for freedom of expression
- Broadcasting regulation - who has the right to broadcast? Licensing systems
- Regulation of broadcast content - how is this done (and why? Reactive, not pro-active)
- OTT content providers and the shift to online delivery replacing television - technological challenges to traditional means of
regulation of television-type content, and how these are being met.
- Regulation of the press - extra-legal regulation, with enhanced freedom to editorialise. Why? What problems has this raised? How have things changed (if at all) as a result of the fallout from Leveson and the phone hacking scandal?
- Advertising has only increased in importance in terms of media funding in recent decades, with much media, both traditional
(Channel 4 television, Evening Standard and Metro newspapers) and online (Guardian newspapers online versions, among
others), being wholly dependent on advertising revenue to fund itself. Important as this revenue stream then is to preserving a
vibrant media sector, it also requires significant regulation in order to ensure that it does not damage the consumer
(misleading advertising, consumer protection issues), or compromise the quality or reliability of entertainment content (e.g.
rules on product placement introduced in 2011). Challenges presented by new media developments, such as 'sponsored posts'
by celebrities on Twitter and other social media platforms ill also be considered.
While English law will be used as the primary reference point for teaching in this module, it will be presented not as a course in English law but rather using English law as a case-study example of how some of the big questions for regulation of the media may be answered. Student discussion will be encouraged to raise examples and alternative ideas from other jurisdictions.
Final Assessment Exercise