COMM 2024 Media Law and Ethics

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 101928

Coordinator Roger Dawkins Opens in new window

Description Media Law and Ethics focuses on the media and communication industries of public relations, journalism, advertising and media production, and examines issues including: the legal framework in which these creative communication industries operate, the role of ethics in decision-making in these industries, and the impact of regulation. It considers these issues in relation to their historical and philosophical contexts, and in terms of the contemporary context of digital networked media. This unit provides a foundation for professional practice in the Communication and Creative Industries key programs.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline Journalism

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your HECS Band contribution amount via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 2 subject

Equivalent Subjects COMM 2010 - Communication Law and Ethics

Restrictions Successful completion of 60 credit points at Level 1 in currently enrolled program.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:
  1. apply a thorough understanding of the legal framework in which the communication industries operate and the ethical context of decision-making in the media professions
  2. explain the Australian legal system as it specifically relates to the key fields of professional communication practice
  3. articulate historical and philosophical contexts to contemporary practices involving ethical judgments and decision-making
  4. explain the impact of regulatory procedures upon the range of communication practice, and industry-specific solutions to legal and ethical concerns within media contexts
  5. apply key research skills to legal and ethical issues in a media context

Subject Content

Defamation, contempt and privacy laws
Fairness in research and reporting, including developing an awareness of anti-discrimination laws and other media guidelines as they apply to minority and/or vulnerable groups such as children and indigenous people
An overview of free speech issues, including the Freedom of Information Act
Understanding creators' rights, including copyright laws as they apply to the media professions
Contextualising journalism, advertising, public relations and media production pressures in contemporaneous terms
The legal framework for electronic communication such as the internet and email
Issues in the regulation and control of print, broadcast and electronic media
The professional codes of ethics that apply in all fields of communication practice


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Item Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Quiz 30 minutes 10 N Individual
Take Home Case Studies Test Open book for one week: 1,000 words 30 N Individual
Covering Court 600 words 20 N Individual
Major Research paper 1500 research paper 40 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Pearson, M., & Polden, M. (2019). The journalist's guide to media law : A handbook for communicators in a digital world (6th ed.). Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin

Teaching Periods


Penrith (Kingswood)


Subject Contact Roger Dawkins Opens in new window

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Parramatta - Victoria Rd


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Sydney City Campus - Term 2

Sydney City


Subject Contact Ming Diao Opens in new window

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