Course Details

Global Freedom of Expression and the Press

Global Freedom of Expression and the Press This seminar will examine how policymakers, legislatures, and courts around the world are grappling with new and troubling issues in expression and press freedom in a highly digitized era. In contexts shaped by Wikileaks/Snowden shockwaves and by their own histories, precedents, practices, and forms of governance, nations are beginning to draw new boundaries for expression and press freedom with different, sometimes oppressive lines. These include, for example, increasing use of speech crimes to punish journalists and the use of anti-terrorism, national security, and public order laws to restrict or censor their work. But even in countries with democratic ideals, difficult questions get asked. Is a magazine’s right to publish a cartoon satirizing a religious figure worth the fatal retaliatory aftermath? What should be the legal response, if any, to the rise of giant superstructures for disseminating information and opinion that enable the use of social media to magnify hate speech, manipulate elections, and sow discord with “fake news?” Is Facebook a threat to democracy? We will further explore how press law and policy in global jurisdictions are evolving amid heightened tensions between freedom of expression and other fundamental rights, such as those to reputation and privacy, including the right to be forgotten. We will also examine the role and efficacy of United Nations mechanisms and mandates to protect freedom of expression and opinion, including those of the Human Rights Council and its special rapporteurs. And we will analyze the impact of a growing global network of NGOs, litigators, and academics seeking to affect media law reforms through strategic campaigns and litigation, particularly in regional courts such as the European Court of Human Rights and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Method of evaluation: Class participation, research paper, and in-class presentation. This seminar will satisfy the research writing requirement.

Catalog Number: CONPUB 755
Additional Course Information: Research Writing


Course History

Spring 2018
Title: Global Freedom of Expression and the Press
Faculty: Weisenhaus, Doreen (courses | profile)
Section: 1     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 25     Actual: 13