International and European Media Law

Course summary

Dr Rachael Craufurd Smith, Reader in EC Law, and Dr Paolo Cavaliere, Lecturer in Digital Media and IT Law, provide an overview of the course.

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. 


  1. Freedom of Speech & Freedom of the Media from a comparative perspective
  2. Media Regulation: Sector Specific Regulation & the Challenge of Convergence
  3. The Limits of Media Freedom: Defamation and the Limits of Media Freedom
  4. The Limits of Media Freedom: Hate Speech
  5. The Limits of Media Freedom: Privacy in a Networked World
  6. Digital Media and the Regulation of Platforms and Intermediaries
  7. Public Service Broadcasting: 'Still Relevant in a Digital World?'
  8. Media Power, Concentration and Pluralism
  9. Citizen's Journalism: 'Protecting Individual Freedom, Ensuring Accountability?'
  10. Free Flow of Information and Media Imperialism: the EU, WTO and UNESCO

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • 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;
  • Familiarise 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, 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.


  • Written essay of 3,500 words (60%);
  • Blog of 1,500 words (20%);
  • Four reflective diary posts, to be posted in weeks 3, 5, 7, and 9, each identifying one key learning outcome attained in the previous two weeks (20 %). Each diary entry to be no more than 200 words in length.

Terms and conditions

Please note the University reserves the right to make variations to the contents of programmes, including the range of courses offered, and the available choice of courses in any given year may change.

Find out more about the University's terms and conditions