90132 - Information and Media Law

Academic Year 2023/2024

Learning outcomes

At the end of this class the students acquire the knowledge and the juridical tools useful to understand the dynamics of our political and institutional system and to work in the field of information and media At the beginning the course focuses on the analysis of the legal method and the study of our constitutional system. In the second part, also through the study of cases, students learn the rights, duties and limits related to the freedom of press and speech, as well as the legal framework that regulates the sector of traditional media (press, radio and television and telecommunications), the new media (rights to the network and rights on the net), and the show business (cinema and theater).

Course contents

Part I – Public Law basics

This first part aims at analyzing the fundamental aspects of public law, in particular:


Introductory knowledge
- The State: conception and main features
- Forms of State
- Unitary state, federal state, regional state
- Forms of Government

The system of law sources
- Regulations and legal order
- The Constitution of the Italian Republic
- Ordinary law and secondary legislation

Notes on EU legal order
- EU law sources
- European Union bodies
- The European Constitution and other european law sources

Constitutional bodies
- The electorate
- The Parliament
- The Government
- The President of the Republic
- The Constitutional Court
- The Superior Council of Judges and the judicial power

Part II – Freedom of information and communication

In this second part, students analyze the main constitutional provisions concerning freedom of information and communication, in particular on freedom of Press in its different branches (judicial reporting, editorials and reviews, satire, interview). On the opposite side, the analysis focuses on the explicit and implicit limitations of these freedoms. Further attention is given to the “new rights”, which emerged as a result of the new technologies innovations.

1. Freedom of expression – substantial profile
- The Italian Constitution: previous regulations and foreign legal orders
- Article 21 of the Italian Constitution
- The structure of article 21
- Subjective profile and objective profile
- Connections and distinctions with other constitutional rights
- Freedom of expression, negative freedom: the right to silence

1.1. Limitations to the freedom of expression
- The explicit limit: public moral or decency (article 21, paragraph 6); main definitions from the civil code and penal code
- Implicit limits
- the interpretation of article 2 of the Constitution
- The role of interpretation and balance of the Constitutional Court
- The classification of the implicit limits

2. Freedom of expression – instrumental profile

2.1. Right to inform and the limit of honor
a) Freedom of press
- Limitations: honor and dignity
- Analysis of article 51 of the Italian penal code
- Set of rules for journalists

b) Other forms of the right to inform
- Editorials and reviews
- Satire
- Interview
- Political communication (notes)
- Advertising communication (notes)

c) Other limitations to the right to information
- Right to privacy
- Secrets
- Right to personal image
- Right to personal identity
- Right to to be forgotten
- Crimes of opinion, propaganda, public defamation (notes)
- Right of reply

2.2. Right to be informed
- Right holders
- Individuals responsible for fulfilling the right
- The right to receive news as a social right
- Interest in pluralism of information and right to information
- Pluralism: internal, external, total

2.3. Right to obtain information
- Notes on the Right to access public informations

3. Freedom of correspondence and communication
- Article 15 of the Constitution of the Italian Republicand previous regulation
- Right holders
- Object of the right
- Extensions and requirement for the communication
- Protection of privacy and choice of the communication medium
- Guarantees and limitations
- Relations between article 21 and article 15 of the Constitution

Part III – Media and the Net
This part focuses on the main features of the regulation of the different sectors of information and communication (press, terrestrial television and radio, telecommunications, Internet) and on the role of the authorities, which govern and control the whole system in Italy.

1. Press
- A brief historical overview
- Press Act, law 47/1948
- Publishing and editorial products Act, law 62/2001
- Publishing companies
- Press funding policy
- Regulation of the Journalist Association and Register
- Journalists: rights and duties
- Freedom of information and criticism within media companies
- Journalistic activity and protection of privacy

2.Television and radio
- A brief historical overview
- The role of the Constitutional Court in the evolution of the broadcasting system

- European Union and broadcasting system

- Terrestrial television and radio and antitrust

- The Gasparri Act and theThe Integrated System of Communicatio

- The Unified Code on Media Audiovisual services and Radio


3. Telecommunications

- A brief historical overview
- Community law and liberalization of the communication sector
- Regulation of the communication sector in Italy
- The technological convergence
- The digital markets



4. Internet and the Law

- A regulation for Internet
- Internet difficult legal framework
- The system of “digital rights”
- Right to access the network and informations
- Digital divides and its contrast
- A Constitution in the Internet
- Traditional rights and digital environment
- New digital rights
- The Big Data Problem
- The outlook for Net neutrality
- Rules and algorithms
- Legal truth, factual truth and fake news

Part IV – Freedom of culture and freedom of artistic expression – The entertainment sector

In this part, students analyse the constitutional provisions on freedom of art and culture, by focusing, in particular, on the of values of aesthetics and culture in the Constitution of the Italian Republic. Afterwards, students explore the limitations to these freedoms, specifically the relation among art and obscenity.

1. Constitutional principles on arts and culture
- Law and artistic and cultural production: a brief historical overview
- The system of constitutional rights
- Article 9 of the Constitution of the Italian Republic
- Promotion, development and protection of culture
- Aesthetics and culture as fundamental values of the Italian legal order
- Article 33 of the Constitution of the Italian Republic
- Freedom of art, science and of their teaching
- Freedom of artistic expression as a positive freedom
- Logic and limits of public intervention in the cultural field
- Cultural pluralism

1.1. Limitations to the artistic expression
- Art and obscenity
- Connections between the limits in article 21 and article 33
- Evolution of the constitutional case law on art and obscenity

Part V – The entertainment sector: cinema, theatre and live performance

This part focuses on the main features of the regulation in the fields of cinema, theatre and live performance; Functions of State and regions; the system of direct and indirect intervention of public institutions in these sectors, with particular reference to the discipline of the Fondo Unico per lo Spettacolo (FUS)

- A brief historical overview
- The role of State and government bodies in the sector of entertainment
- Direct intervention
- Indirect intervention: Fondo Unico per lo Spettacolo (FUS) and other form of censorship
- Main reforms of theatre and live performance
- Lyrical Theatre foundation
- Main reforms of cinema


For the students of Scienze della Comunicazione (12 CFU)

1. R. Bin e G. Pitruzzella, Diritto pubblico, Giappichelli, 2022, limited to Percorso 1, Chapters I, II, III, IV e Percorso 2, chapters I, II, III, IV, VII, VIII, IX

or, as an alternative
A. Barbera e C. Fusaro, Corso di diritto pubblico, ed.2022, Il Mulino limited to chapters I, II, IV, V, VI, VII. VIII, IX, X, XI, XII

This book is available also in an online version, see https://youtu.be/Cx2DHcCbLe8

As support, for this part at foreign students it’s recommended G.F. Ferrari, Introduction to Italian Public Law, Giuffrè Editore, 2022, limited to chapters 1,2,3,4,5,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14.

2. G. Gardini, Le regole dell'informazione. Verso la Gigabit Society, V edizione, Giappichelli, ed. 2021.

 3. F. Rimoli , voce L'arte, in S. Cassese (a cura di) Trattato di Diritto Amministrativo, Diritto Amministrativo Speciale, Tomo II, pag.1513 e ss. (on Virtuale)

limited to paragraphs 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2.



For the students of Discipline delle Arti Figurative, della Musica, dello Spettacolo e della Moda (6 CFU)

1. G. Gardini, Le regole dell'informazione. Verso la Gigabit Society, V edizione, Giappichelli, ed. 2021

limited at chapters 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12

2. F. Rimoli , voce L'arte, in S. Cassese (a cura di) Trattato di Diritto Amministrativo, Diritto Amministrativo Speciale, Tomo II, pag.1513 e ss. (su Virtuale)

limitatamente ai paragrafi 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2


For all students 

It is recommended to read some of the laws and Court decisions presented in class (on Virtuale)

Teaching methods

The course is taught in frontal lessons.

Attendance at lectures is strongly recommended, especially for students who do not have university-level legal knowledge.

Attendance in the classroom will be randomly checked to qualify students as "attending" students, and allow them to access the preliminary written test in simplified form (see the section Learning assessment methods)

A seminar on the method and tools of legal research is foreseen, the attendance of which is compulsory for students who intend to support their degree thesis in this subject.

There will also be some seminars aimed at deepening the knowledge of particularly relevant or topical aspects, to which scholars, representatives of institutions, professionals and experts in the field will be invited.

Assessment methods

1. COMPULSORY WRITTEN EXAM (except for foreign students, who undergo the oral exam only)

It takes place the day of examination.

The written exam is divided in two different parts: the first one is a multiple choice test (20 questions) and the second one is a open question test (3 questions).

The multiple choice test is preliminary and preparatory to the open question test, and students must give 15 correct answer out of 20 (12, if stundets qualify as "attending" the classes).

The final grade is determined only by the result of the open question test.


- if students do not answer at least 15 questions in the first part, they won't be able to undergo the second part and their exam finishes

- if students give 15 (or more) correct answer in the first part, they will continue the exam by undergoing the second part. The examining board will assess this second part.


Students who pass the written test can ask to take an oral exam to try to improve the evaluation obtained.

In this case they must send a request to dar.didatticadonati@unibo.it within 48 hours from the publication of the written test results.


Students who do not speak Italian are given the opportunity to take the oral exam on the day of the written exam

- sending an an email to dar.didatticadonati@unibo.it

- registering anyway for the written exam.

All students are required to study the materials contained in the bibliography provided for the A.Y. in progress.


Teaching tools

Further course materials will be available on "Virtuale".

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Daniele Donati


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This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.