Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism
  1. Judith Townend
Law, Justice and Journalism

Judith Townend

PhD student (completed)

E: judith.townend.1@city.ac.uk
Twitter: @jtownend

Thesis title: Defamation, privacy & the 'chill': A socio-legal study of the relationship between media law and journalistic practice in England and Wales, 2008-13

Dr Judith Townend is a former PhD student and Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism. Her doctoral research examined the relationship between defamation and privacy law and journalistic practice in England and Wales.

She is currently director of the Information Law and Policy Centre at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. Her primary research interests lie in information and communication law, policy and practice. She was previously research associate at University of Westminster, where she worked on an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project on media plurality, and lecturer in the journalism department at City, University of London. Before beginning her academic career she worked in online journalism, following an undergraduate degree in social anthropology.

She is a member of the executive group of the Institute of Communication Ethics and the advisory panel for Communications Law (the Journal of Computer, Media and Telecommunications Law), and visiting lecturer in media regulation at UCL Faculty of Laws. Her co-edited collection (with Professor Steven Barnett), Media Power and Plurality, will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in May/June 2015.

Judith's PhD focused on legal restraints on the media, in particular, the pre-publication process, the interaction between media organisations and privacy/defamation law, and notions of self-censorship and the 'chilling effect'.
Her research supervisors were Nicholas Hatzis and Professor Howard Tumber.


Recent media publications

Conference presentations

  • Presentation at joint seminar of the Data Protection Forum and NADPO (The National Association of Data Protection Officers), 12 June 2015
  • Presentation at Media, power and plurality: old problems, new policies, University of Westminster, 11 June 2015
  • Presentation at LSE Law and Communications Network workshop: Positive free speech, LSE, 7 May 2015
  • Plenary panel speaker at Winchester Conference on Trust, Risk, Information and the Law, 21 April 2015
  • Paper in the Law Enforcement, Regulation and the Use, Abuse and Control of Information stream, Socio-Legal Studies Association annual conference, University of Warwick, 1 April 2015
  • Paper (with Steven Barnett), 'Artisanal news: how can national and transnational media policy help sustain and grow an emerging hyperlocal sector?', IAMCR annual conference, Hyderabad, 18 July 2014
  • Paper, 'Decentralised media-legal work in Australia and the UK: court suppression orders and injunctions', IAMCR annual conference, Hyderabad, 16 July 2014
  • Panel presentation on local media pluralism, Film and Media 2014, Institute of Education, University of London, 27 June 2014
  • Presentation at 'Justice Open and Shut' workshop on suppression orders, University Technology Sydney, 4 June 2014
  • Paper (with Steven Barnett), '"And What Good Came Of It At Last?" Press-politician relations post Leveson', Political Studies Association annual conference, 15 April 2014
  • Presentation at 'The challenges of citizen journalism: Technology and the law', Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCMLP) seminar at Wolfson College, Oxford, 24 January 2014
  • Invited participant, Early Stage Researchers' Colloquium, Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Berlin, 21 November 2013
  • Paper, 'Participant consent in the digital era', Institute of Communication Ethics annual conference, 25 September 2013
  • Paper, 'An uncertain climate: Defamation, privacy and the resolution of disputes outside the courtroom', Society of Legal Scholars annual conference, 4 September 2013
  • Panel presentation, 'Participant consent in journalistic process: legal and ethical issues in a digital age', Ethics of Society and Ethics of Communication Working Group session: 'Emotional and trauma literacy in journalism's digital age', IAMCR 2013 Conference, Dublin City University, 27 June 2013
  • Panel presentation, 'Searching for the data: policy-making, legal reform and the media debate', Law Section session: 'Media scandal and crisis', IAMCR 2013 Conference, Dublin City University, 26 June 2013
  • Paper, 'Obstacles to accessing information about defamation and privacy dispute resolution in England & Wales and the effect on the development of post-Leveson reform', WG Hart Legal Workshop 2013, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 24 June 2013
  • Speaker, 'Open courts data, open justice… and the right to be forgotten?', first joint seminar of the DP Forum and NADPO (The National Association of Data Protection Officers), 4 June 2013
  • Paper, 'Closed data: researching defamation and privacy disputes in England & Wales', Research Methodologies and Methods stream, SLSA conference 2013
  • Poster, 'Defamation's "chilling effect": Mapping the social articulation of a legal concept', SLSA conference 2013 [PDF]
  • Presentations, 'From News Cycle to News Spirograph', Imagine Journalism in Ten Years' Time, Northampton University, 7 March 2013
  • Paper, 'The right to receive information: broadening the public's access to media events', Media policy post-Leveson conference, Bournemouth University, 8 February 2013
  • Presentation, 'Media law for community journalists and bloggers', Community Journalism Conference, Cardiff University, 16 January 2013
  • Paper, 'The limits of journalism: self-censorship, organisational structures and notions of newsworthiness', Joint PhD symposium for media, communication and journalism, University of Westminster, 23 November 2012
  • Invited participant, Policy Conference - EU Competencies in Respect of Media Pluralism and Media Freedom, Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom, Florence, 29 October 2012
  • Paper, 'Leveson online: A publicly reported inquiry', Institute of Communication Ethics annual seminar, 25 October 2012
  • Speaker, Terrorism & Security Research in the UK: Using and Understanding Legal Resources, Research Training at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London, 15 June 2012
  • Speaker, After Phone Hacking? Fourth Annual Conference of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University Westminster, in association with the British Journalism Review. London, 30 May 2012
  • Panellist, Rebellious Media Conference, London, October 2011
  • Participant, Annenberg-Oxford Media Policy Summer Institute, July 2011


  • Visiting lecturer, UCL Faculty of Laws (LLM module, Principles of Media Regulation), 2013-present
  • Visiting lecturer, University of Westminster (Undergraduate module, Contemporary Issues in Media Policy), 2012-14
  • Lecturer (0.5 FTE), City University London (Undergraduate online journalism, media law), 2013-14


She has written articles for www.guardian.co.uk, Index on Censorship, the INFORRM media law blog, the Justice Gap and the CGCS Media Wire, University of Pennsylvania. Her online work can be found at http://meejalaw.com and http://jtownend.com