• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Jelena Gligorijevic
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2021
    See Future Offerings

In this course we will explore, critique and apply various aspects of the law that interact with the media, and newsgathering and reportage practices. We will analyse the theoretical underpinnings of press freedom, before examining the ways in which the law protects media and journalists as such, and the ways in which media and journalists, as such, are regulated by law. We will analyse, evaluate and apply laws that can restrict media and journalists, including state surveillance powers, defamation law, privacy protection, trespass, and contempt of court. 

Throughout this course, we will interrogate the law’s adequacy in either protecting or restricting media practices, taking into account relevant aspects of the political, social and information-technology contexts. We will in this regard evaluate the normative, constitutional importance of the media and the press, and critically relate this historical-theoretical dimension to current issues affecting media dissemination and consumption, including law reform, national security concerns, and online communications.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Evaluate the theoretical underpinnings of press freedom, and contrast them with the various normative reasons for restricting media activities, including (but not limited to) national security, the administration of justice, individual reputational, privacy.
  2. Critically analyse and evaluate the ways in which Australian law currently purports to protect press freedom in a variety of settings.
  3. Critically analyse and evaluate the ways in which Australian law currently protects interests that compete with press freedom, including (but not limited to) national security, administration of justice, individual reputation, and privacy.
  4. Evaluate issues arising from practical scenarios, in order to identify potential liability in legislation, regulation, or common law, and then synthesise the law’s requirements and the given facts, to formulate appropriate legal arguments.
  5. Undertake independent research in order to analyse critically how adequately the law reflects the importance of press freedom, the legitimate limitations on that freedom, and the implications that modern communications technologies and contemporary issues have for the law’s capacity to strike the 'right balance' between freedom and censorship.

Other Information

Classes may be offered in non-standard sessions and be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (a minimum of 36 hours). Please refer to Law Course Search. Please contact the ANU College of Law Student Administration Services to request a permission code to enrol in classes offered in non-standard sessions.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Research essay (50) [LO 1,2,3,5]
  2. Examination (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have three contact hours per week (a minimum of 36 hours). Students are generally expected to devote at least 10 hours overall per week to this course.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Bachelor of Laws (ALLB, BLLBA) and have completed or be completing five 1000 level LAWS courses; OR Juris Doctor (MJD) and have completed or be completing five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed LAWS8402 Media Law.

Prescribed Texts

Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately two weeks prior to the commencement of the course.

Preliminary Reading

Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately two weeks prior to the commencement of the course.

Assumed Knowledge

The course may assume some basic knowledge of Australian public law, as well as basic knowledge of how private law remedies operate in tort and equity; however, both the set readings and the seminars will cover the material examinable in this course.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $4170
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $5580
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
7520 26 Jul 2021 02 Aug 2021 14 Sep 2021 29 Oct 2021 In Person View

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions