Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit examines the way standards of public accountability and social responsibility are articulated, shaped and circulated by media practices in contemporary society. It also examines the roles of the media in exposing failures in public responsibility and accountability in a variety of professional and cultural contexts and explores new relationships of power emerging out of the use of social media. The unit also explores the responsibility of the media itself, and the complex issues associated with holding the media to account. The case studies consider the way accountability is presented, and advocated for, in moments of scandal, crisis and corruption. Instances of social media shaming, social movement media, and corporate social responsibility are discussed in the contexts of considering how ideas about public responsibility and accountability are being redefined.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) understand different concepts and theories of accountability and responsibility; (2) identify and interpret issues related to the portrayal of accountability and responsibility in different forms of media, across different professional context and cultures; and (3) critically evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of different forms of media regulation in respect to accountability.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) written assessment; (2) case studies; and (3) presentation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Steven Maras
Unit rules
Advisable prior study
COMM5701 Strategic Communications in a Digital Era, COMM5604 Media Law and Ethics
Contact hours
seminars: 2 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.