LAWS396-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020

Media Law

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 February 2020
End Date: Sunday, 21 June 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 28 February 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 29 May 2020


Media Law

Media law is a fascinating and increasingly important subject.  This course pursues a general theme of investigating and analysing the nature of free speech and the public interest as they relate to the media.  It covers the most important laws which impact on the media, including defamation, court reporting and contempt, breach of confidence, copyright, restrictions on news-gathering methods, privacy, the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Press Council.

Teaching in the course is active rather than passive.  This involves the use of pub quizzes, group discussion and feedback, guest speakers, a haiku competition, case studies, a grand debate, spot debates, media monitoring and student responsibility exercises.

Learning Outcomes

Students who complete and pass the course will have these attributes:
* fundamental legal knowledge of media law, including its global and comparative contexts;
* the ability to identify and articulate media law issues, to apply legal reasoning and research to respond to those issues, and to engage in critical analysis and make reasoned choices amongst alternative solutions;
* a developing ability to exercise professional judgment about media law issues;
* the ability to communicate about media law issues in ways that are effective, appropriate and persuasive for legal and non-legal audiences, including in writing, as part of a collaborative group, and for oral presentation;
* the ability to learn and work independently, and reflect on and assess their own capabilities and performance;
* bi-cultural confidence and confidence about how the New Zealand state has met its obligations to protect Te Reo, the Māori language, in broadcasting;
* knowledge and understanding of how journalism and media work through group interaction with a journalism community, and by reflecting, an understanding and articulation of how law can assist that community.

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.



Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Ursula Cheer


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Group Summary Opinion 24 Apr 2020 15%
Reflection Document 24 Apr 2020 10%
Research Report Memo 06 May 2020 15%
Final Exam 60%

Assessment may be by way of a group breaking news legal advice exercise, an essay, a filmed oral presentation and a final examination.

The assessment will be confirmed in the first week of lectures.

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Burrows, J. F. , Cheer, Ursula; Burrows and Cheer on media law in New Zealand ; 7th edition; LexisNexis NZ Limited, 2015.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $822.00

International fee $4,000.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Faculty of Law .

All LAWS396 Occurrences

  • LAWS396-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020