JJUA55007U Media Law

Volume 2016/2017

The course aims at developing knowledge and understanding regarding law and regulations about media, journalism, public communication and freedom of expression in a European and comparative perspective. In a democratic society, regulations concerning media, journalism, internet, public speech, arts, culture, entertainment and advertising have to strike a fair balance, taking into consideration the freedom of expression as well as the need to respect other fundamental rights and freedoms as protected by the European Convention on Human Rights and its Protocols (right to privacy, personality rights, presumption of innocence, property rights…). The course focuses on national and international media law, with special attention to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the legal framework of the European Union. The course introduces students to international sources of media law and freedom of expression. Students will carry out various types of comparative analysis. The course is intended for both Danish and foreign students. All required readings are in the English language and class discussions will be conducted in English 

The course focuses on the freedom of communication and the most important restrictions on content, such as hate speech, racism and incitement to violence, libel and defamation, disrespecting privacy or confidentiality. Regulation of court and crime reporting will be discussed, as well as specific journalists’ rights such as the protection of journalistic sources. The protection of children’s interests is another issue of particular attention. The central theme is the balancing of freedom of expression and other human rights and interests. 
Studies will be conducted regarding civil and criminal liability, censorship and prior classification of content, broadcasting law, advertising regulation, freedom of political and artistic expression, freedom of expression and anti-terror policy, responsible journalism, freedom of expression on internet, freedom of expression for lawyers, whistleblowing and the right of access to official documents. The analysis of the Strasbourg Court’s case law will make the students aware of some specific media law issues and characteristics in other EU-member States and in other member states of the Council of Europe. The course also analyses EU-law, such as the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, the E-Commerce Directive (liability of ISP’s for illegal content), the Directive on Copyright in the Information Society (from the perspective of the “free flow of information”) and the Personal Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (in relation to journalism and freedom of expression and information).

Learning Outcome

Analyse the characteristics of national and international media law and a profound understanding of the relevant case law of the European Court of Human Rights. 
Put into perspective the case law of the European Court of Human Rights with regard to freedom of expression and media regulation. 
Compare the reasoning of the European Court with the characteristics of national law and jurisprudence. 
Discuss the importance of freedom of expression in a democratic society and put into perspective the interdependent but also the ambiguous relation between freedom of expression and other human rights. 
Explain the margin of appreciation in legitimizing restrictions on freedom of expression and media regulation. 
Identify, analyse and discuss international sources of media law and freedom of expression. 
Critically reflect on central issues of media law and freedom of expression (and its limits). 
Present media law policy aspects and specific issues or problems in media law in other EU-member States or in other member states of the Council of Europe and explain these issues in a broader context, systematically and with consistency. 
Reflect critically to all kinds of interferences by public authorities in the freedom of expression and information, taking into account the rights and duties involved regarding the respect for other human rights and other (legal) interests. 
Explain, discuss, argue and present solutions how to regulate or mediate the conflicting interests between freedom of expression and right of privacy, freedom of religion, presumption of innocence and fair trial interests, personality rights, protection of secrecy and confidentiality, public security interests, intellectual property rights, minority rights and economic and commercial interests. 
Communicate and formulate their knowledge and arguments professionally and linguistically correct and in a way that is structured and coherent.

D. VOORHOOF et al. and T. Mc GONAGLE (Ed. Sup.), Freedom of Expression, the Media and Journalists. Case law of the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg, European Audiovisual Observatory, Iris Themes, e-book, actualized version 2016/2017 (forthcoming), free of charge available on http:/​/​www.obs.coe.int/​en/​iris-themes

Other material (policy documents of the Council of Europe, Committee of Ministers and Parliamentary Assembly and of the EU, including some EU-directives (Audiovisual Media Services, Copyright in Information Society, E-Commerce) and the EU Regulation are all online available, with links in the documentation on Absalon. 
Some articles, blogs or chapters in books will be made on line accessible on Absalon (text document or link). 

Optional : D. VOORHOOF and E. LIEVENS, European Media Law 2016-2017,  Collection of Materials, Knops Publishing, 2016, 294 p., http:/​/​www.mijnwetboek.be/​en/​producten/​European-Media-Law-2016-2017



Combination of lectures, presentation of papers by students, analysis of case law, group discussion and "actual window".
Students also prepare documentation or read some articles, policy documents or case law in advance.
Each session contains short presentations by students and interactive workshop.
Some sessions in February and March will offer the opportunity for consultancy on the synopsis.
Learning method in function of achieving learning outcome (cfr. supra) and being able to demonstrate the achievement of the learning goals in writing a paper (synopsis) and during the oral exam.
A fair knowledge of the English language is a minimum requirement. Foreign students are invited to bring or organise access to relevant sources of their own national media and information law, as this material will also be used during the course.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 241
  • Seminar
  • 34
  • Total
  • 275
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutes
Oral exam based on synopsis, 20 minutes

For more information on how to write a synopsis and practical information on this matter, see https:/​/​intranet.ku.dk/​law/​ma/​study_messages/​Pages/​Newguidelinesforthesynopsisexam.aspx
Regarding approach, content, source, methodology, form and date of delivery of the synopsis, information will be given in class. Additional individual consultancy will be organised once the subject matter has been chosen or when the preparation of the synopsis has effectively started.
Exam registration requirements

In order to attend the oral examination, it is a prerequisite to hand in the synopsis before the specified deadline.
The deadline is May 12.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Exam period

Spring: May 29 - June 2, 2017 (preliminary dates)


Please see "Academic calendar" on KUnet.