Module Details

Module Code: MEDI C3301
Module Title: Media Law and the Digital Environment
Title: Media Law and the Digital Environment 1
Module Level:: 8
Credits:: 5
Module Coordinator: Eileen Doyle
Module Author:: Pauline McHugh
Module Description: The aim of this module is to guide the learner through a course of study, which should enable him/her gain
knowledge of the principle theories of law which impact on the field of media and to examine the role of the
media in a constitutional democracy, thereby assisting the student to develop the analytical skills required to
apply their legal knowledge to various scenarios.
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module the learner will be able to:
# Learning Outcome Description
LO1 Be able to analyse and discuss the various fundamental rights which impact upon the field of media, in particular the Right to Privacy and Freedom of Expression.
LO2 Display understanding of the relevance of Data Protection and Freedom of Information legislation to the field of Media.
LO3 Select and apply their knowledge to avoid and/or solve legal problems in the areas of freedom of expression, privacy and data privacy in practice
LO4 Be able to explain the rationale for censorship in a democratic society and describe how it manifests in this jurisdiction across traditional and digital media.
Module Recommendations

This is prior learning (or a practical skill) that is recommended before enrolment in this module.

No recommendations listed
Co-requisite Modules
No Co-requisite modules listed
Additional Requisite Information
No Co Requisites listed
Indicative Content
The Media and the Constitution (Fundamental Rights and role of media)
Interaction between relevant fundamental rights • Freedom of Expression(Art. 40.6) • Right to a Good Name(Art. 40.3.2) • Right to a Fair trial (Art. 38.1)• Right to Privacy(Art. 40.3)• Constitutional role in Open Justice(Art 34.1), • Media role of informing public and criticising Government policy (Art. 40.6)
Introduction to theories of Freedom of Expression and the Media
• Deontological & Instrumental approaches • Freedom of Expression as a fundamental value • The Pursuit of Truth • Market Place of Ideas • 'post truth' Speech and democracy/ role in politics • Expression and autonomy • The European Convention on Human Rights
• Curtailment of Freedom of Expression: • Public order/morality • Anti-discrimination legislation, • Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred, • Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998 • Censorship of print/broadcasting/digital formats • Reform-Office of internet safety/Internet safety Commissioner
Fundamental right to Privacy
• Art. 40.3 of the Constitution /Art 8 ECHR • Privacy in Ireland as it affects journalists, bloggers, social media users-Civil action for damages for breach of privacy, common law precedent, court tests in constitutional action • Alternative routes for asserting privacy rights-action for breach of confidence, trespass, negligence, contract etc • Public interest as a defence to breach of privacy • Legislation concerning criminal aspects of breach of privacy: • Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Act 2020 • Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997
Data Protection & Freedom of Information
• GDPR 2016, Data Protection Act 2018, ePrivacy Regs 2011, Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011 • Protection of privacy of individuals with regard to personal data, • Journalistic exemption • Rights of data subjects, duties of data controllers/processors • Functions and powers of the Data Protection Commissioner • Freedom of Information Act 2014 • Information held by Public Bodies, • Right of any member of the public to access records • procedures for requesting information, form of access, • grounds for refusal of access, exempt records, • Function and powers of Information Commissioner
Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown%
Continuous Assessment100.00%


Full Time

Continuous Assessment
Assessment Type Other % of Total Mark 100
Timing n/a Learning Outcomes 1,2,3,4
Non-marked No
Assessment Description
Submission of written assessment concerning solving problem scenario(s) relevant to the module content.
No Project
No Practical
No End of Module Formal Examination
Reassessment Requirement
Exam Board
It is at the discretion of the Examination Board as to what the qualifying criteria are.

SETU Carlow Campus reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload

Workload: Full Time
Workload Type Workload Category Contact Type Workload Description Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload Hours
Lecture Contact No Description 12 Weeks per Stage 3.00 36
Independent Learning Non Contact No Description 15 Weeks per Stage 5.93 89
Total Weekly Contact Hours 3.00
Module Resources
Recommended Book Resources
  • Eoin Carolan,Ailbhe O'Neill. (2019), Media Law in Ireland, 2nd Ed.. Bloomsbury Professional, p.688, [ISBN: 9781784518004].
  • Marie McGonagle,Sharon McLaughlin,Tarlach McGonagle. (2018), Media Law in Ireland, 2nd Ed.. [ISBN: 9789403500232].
  • Laura L. Keogh. (2019), Data Protection Compliance, Clarus Press, [ISBN: 9781911611240].
  • Denis Kelleher. (2015), Privacy and Data Protection Law in Ireland, 3rd Ed.. Bloomsbury Publishing, p.696, [ISBN: 9781780432038].
  • Maeve McDonagh. Freedom of Information Law, 3rd Ed.. Round Hall, [ISBN: 9781858006833].
Recommended Article/Paper Resources
  • LexisNexis LNB Legal database.
  • Westlaw IE.
  • JustisOne.
Other Resources
Discussion Note: