Discuss the relevant ethical and legal issues raised by the fictitious scenario below. You should divide your work into four paragraphs, numbered, corresponding with the
paragraphs of the scenario (i.e. 1 to 4). You should make use of the supplied unit readings and case examples to support your answer, but also feel free to find your own from reliable
Australian sources. Make sure you check the Marking Rubric attached to the assignment to see where marks are allocated. Remember to proof-read your work before submission as
marks are deducted for prose and expression errors.
Note: You do not need to assume anything on the facts supplied below. Analyse them as presented to you, based on your developing understanding of media law and ethics principles and regulations. Understanding is developed by working progressively through each unit topic. Avoid phrases such as ‘assuming that …’, or ‘If we
assume that…’ in your analysis.
Students whose first language is not English might benefit from Language and Learning Advisory team support. Make an appointment via Deakin Sync Student page.
1 Bubbles Barrett is a successful Melbourne actor known for her comic roles in Hollywood films such as ‘Hilarious’, ‘Hilarious Too’ and ‘The Florist’. She is a
multimillionaire whose home in Elwood is a well-known landmark, and she is a favourite topic of weekly magazine stories. So, when ‘Woman’s Digest’ reporter
Tansy Career asks for an interview with Bubbles at her home, she is glad to oblige on the condition that no photographs are taken. Tansy agrees, but arranges for a
freelance photographer to accompany her anyway, and they go to Bubbles’ house.
2 When Bubbles answers the door she invites Tansy in, but tells the photographer he has to leave the property. He walks out of the gate, but when Bubbles closes the
door he sneaks back onto the porch and waits. When Tansy is shown out by Bubbles 20 minutes later, the photographer snaps a photo of Bubbles and runs back out of
the gate. Bubbles calls after he and Tansy, ‘You’d better not use that photo and nowyou can’t use the interview either!’ Tansy congratulates the photographer and they
then go back to the office, where she fills out her material with a call to an old school friend of Bubbles, who is called ‘an unnamed source’ in the Digest’s upcoming story.
3 When Woman’s Digest publishes its two-page spread on Bubbles with the photo taken at the house and numerous quotes from the interview, Bubbles is furious.
She’s even madder, however, that the ‘unnamed source’ is quoted in the story as saying ‘Bubbles’ is not her real name – her name is ‘Raylene’ – and she lied about
being related to Hollywood great, Steven Spielberg. Bubbles calls her lawyer, who sends a letter of concern to Woman’s Digest, demanding a retraction and apology.
The letter also states that the photo used in the story was taken deceptively, and violated her privacy. The magazine refuses to retract or apologise, saying Bubbles
agreed to be interviewed and knows how the media works.
4 The day after the magazine issue was published, Channel X, a commercial TV station, leads its Today Tonight current affairs program with an exclusive story about
Bubbles’ new life coaching business. It features the photo from Woman’s Digest plus footage from an ABC TV lifestyle progam about her famous Elwood home. The host
closes the story with, ‘And we’ve just heard that Bubbles Barrett has filed a writ in defamation against Woman’s Digest for a story she says is totally fabricated. We’ll
keep you informed of Bubbles’ fight for justice.’
• Contempt of Court is not assessed by this assignment.
• All other topics are assessable, but you will need to decide which are relevant
• Evaluation of ethics includes positive, not merely negative, analyses of media
• Law Students NB – please be sure to approach your analysis from a professional
communication perspective, as this is not a legal problem-solving task.
• The Advice for Doing Assignments document (in Assessments tab, Cloud Deakin)
applies here, and also the unit guide
• Quoted material included in your text is counted in the overall word count