Sunday 11 August 2013


Media Law for Beginners is targeted at young people who are determined to follow careers in journalism.
All published writers need to have a much more detailed and accurate knowledge of the law than ordinary members of the public. Slander, libel, contempt of court, breach of copyright – do these terms mean anything to you? If not, your work cannot be published safely without an experienced editor studying what you have written to ensure you have not broken the law.
This applies whether you are working for newspapers, magazines, radio, TV or the internet. It applies whether you specialise in columns or reviews, travel articles or consumer tests. But it applies most of all if you are a reporter covering hard news stories.
Aspiring journalists – especially those who have gained their initial writing experience on student papers and internet websites – sometimes assume they can write what they like with impunity. This is not the case. There are numerous laws restricting what we can write, many of them protecting ordinary people’s rights – the right to a fair trial, for example, or the right not to have one’s reputation unfairly attacked.
There are two reasons why all journalists need to have a detailed working knowledge of the law. One is so that they know their rights – how far they can safely go when writing a story without breaking the law. This means knowing when they are permitted to attend courts and council meetings, understanding what is meant by terms like freedom of expression, recognising when a story is in the public interest and knowing what defences exist in defamation and contempt cases.
The other is so that they can recognise potential legal pitfalls – and abide by the legal restrictions imposed on them.

Most journalists find the law is a fascinating subject to study, but no one would suggest it is easy. It’s also a subject where a little bit of theoretical knowledge is not sufficient to keep you out of trouble. Working journalists need to know how to 
apply the law to different real-life situations.
This journalism course introduces you to the most important legal areas which are of concern to journalists – libel and contempt, copyright, codes of conduct, privacy, confidentiality and the specific requirements involved in covering crime and court stories, including the restrictions relating to stories involving sex offences and children and young people.
Many employers insist that trainees pass law exams to qualify for a job, and this course is designed to prepare you to sit the appropriate preliminary law exams set by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) or equivalent in-house training schemes.
The course comprises TEN lessons, each incorporating written assignments, and is currently available at a special rate of £145 all-inclusive. Once enrolled, you can tackle lessons at your own pace: an assiduous student might expect to complete the course in 12-16 weeks, but you have up to 18 months to tackle it at your leisure if you prefer.
Send an email to if you have a query about the course. You are under no commitment.

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