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McNae's Essential Law for Journalists

Twenty-sixth edition

Sian Harrison and Mark Hanna

07 July 2022

ISBN: 9780192847706

632 pages

In Stock

Price: £27.99

The only media law book on the market accredited by the NCTJ, McNae's is the essential guide for journalism students and industry professionals.


The only media law text published in partnership with the NCTJ, McNae's Essential Law for Journalists provides unparalleled treatment of the core legal issues affecting journalists. Clear, succinct, and practical, it is the absolute handbook for students and practising journalists.

  • The authors' combined expertise in media reporting and teaching offers practical, clear, and accurate detail on vital areas of the law
  • Up-to-date case studies and examples help contextualize difficult areas for readers new to the subject and assists assessment preparation
  • 'Remember' points throughout the text highlight complex areas and provide tips for reporting, ensuring that readers understand how to balance their legal obligations with breaking news, while the 'Remember your rights' feature provides advice from the authors on asserting rights
  • The only media law text published in partnership with the NCTJ, and designed to match accredited syllabi. This text is also recommended for a broad range of media qualifications, and is an indispensable companion for professionals working in industry
  • Online resources accompany the book, including self-test questions to help students test their understanding, regular legal updates and additional reading material
  • Also available as an e-book with functionality, navigation features, and links that offer extra learning support

New to this edition

  • New seminal cases covering copyright, defamation and privacy law, including the latest cases brought by Johnny Depp and Meghan Markle
  • New content discusses the emerging importance of media organisations' legal liability for readers' postings
  • Explores the new law that enables remote reporting of court cases
  • Covers the latest updates on journalists' rights to gain access to court case material
  • Expanded coverage of the law of contempt of court
  • Considers judges' comments on 'audit trail' requirements in the Editors' Code

About the Author(s)

Sian Harrison, Law Editor, PA Media, and Mark Hanna, Senior Examiner for the NCTJ Media Law Examinations Board and Emeritus Fellow, University of Sheffield

Sian Harrison is the Law Editor of PA Media (formerly the Press Association) and a member of the NCTJ's Media Law Examinations Board. She is an experienced journalist and court reporter and has been based at the Royal Courts of Justice since 2010.

Mark Hanna is the Senior Examiner of the NCTJ Media Law Examinations Board, and an Emeritus Fellow of the Sheffield University's Journalism Studies department. Mark is the recipient of the NCTJ's Chairman's award for his outstanding contribution to journalism education. He was an award-winning crime and investigations reporter.

Table of Contents

    Part 1: The Landscape of Law, Ethics and Regulation
    2:Press regulation
    3:Broadcast regulation
    4:Journalism avoiding unjustified intrusion
    Part 2: Crime, Courts and Tribunals
    5:Crime - media coverage prior to any court case
    6:Crimes - categories and definitions
    7:Magistrates' courts - summary cases
    8:Magistrates' courts - the most serious criminal cases
    9:Crown courts and appeal courts
    10:Children and young persons in court cases
    11:Anonymity for victims and alleged victims of sexual offences, human trafficking, female genital mutilation and forced marriage offences
    12:Court reporting - other restrictions
    13:Civil courts
    14:Family courts
    15:Open justice and access to court information
    16:Challenging in the courts
    17:Coroners' courts
    18:Tribunals and public inquiries
    19:Contempt of court
    Part 3: Defamation and Related Law
    20:Defamation - definitions and dangers
    21:Who can sue for defamation and what they must prove
    22:Defamation defences
    23:The public interest defence
    24:The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
    25:Slander and malicious falsehood
    Part 4: Confidentiality, Privacy and Copyright
    26:Breach of confidence
    28:Data protection
    Part 5: Information and Expression
    30:Readers' postings
    31:Reporting elections
    32:Official secrets
    33:The journalist's sources and neutrality
    34:The risks of being charged with bribery, misconduct, hacking or intercepting
    35:The right to take photographs, film and record
    Part 6: Online Chapters
    36:Media law in Northern Ireland
    37:The Freedom of Information Act 2000
    38:Other information rights and access to meetings
    39:Boundaries to expression - hate and obscenity
    40:Terrorism and the effect of counter-terrorism law
    41:Media law in Scotland


"I have not come across any other book that covers this ground in such a focused and authoritative way. It is called 'the bible' for a reason." - Professor Marie Kinsey, Emeritus Professor of Journalism Education, University of Sheffield

"It is difficult to imagine teaching media law without daily reference to McNae's. It is comprehensive, authoritative, and the go-to reference book of the industry, making it invaluable to journalism students. " - Dave Porter, Senior Lecturer in Journalism, Manchester Metropolitan

"McNaes has provided legal knowledge for generations of reporters and continues to do so. It is essential reading for anyone who needs to know the legal parameters within which journalists must operate." - John Battle, Head of Legal and Compliance at ITN

"Important detail is clearly signposted. The law is explained with clarity in a way that is relevant to journalists. Legal jargon is explained. It is equally relevant to students and working journalists. McNaes gets it right, and in truth I'd be lost without it, and so would my students." - Karen Nicholson, Senior Lecturer, Nottingham Trent University

Additional Resources

Digital formats and resources
The twenty-sixth edition is available for students and institutions to purchase in a variety of formats, and is supported with online resources.
- The e-book offers a mobile experience and convenient access along with functionality tools, navigation features, and links that offer extra learning support: www.oxfordtextbooks.co.uk/ebooks
- Comprehensive online resources accompany the text. Visit www.mcnaes.com to access new self-test questions with feedback to solidify students' understanding, regular updates from the authors to keep readers abreast of the law, and additional material on important topics from within the book.

Related Titles

Privacy: A Very Short Introduction
Blackstone's Statutes on Media Law

Blackstone's Statutes on Media Law

Fourth Edition

Richard Caddell, Howard Johnson

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