• Length:
    5 Weeks
  • Effort:
    5–12 hours per week
  • Price:

    FREE
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  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
    Intermediate
  • Language:
    English
  • Video Transcript:
    English

About this course

Skip About this course
In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was promulgated, defining freedom of expression as the right “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” The technology revolution of the last two decades has given the world the means to realize this commitment. Technology has shaped, reshaped, and radically transformed the production and distribution of information, profoundly impacting whole societies and greatly influencing, if not defining, information and communication. However, as the course will demonstrate, the foundation of a global protection of freedom of protection and information largely predates the IT revolution of the last decade.  This course will present and analyse the global norms that have emerged over time to enshrine the protection of freedom of expression and information, across and above national and regional differences.

The course is comprised of recorded lectures. Dr. Agnes Callamard, the Director of Columbia Global Freedom of Expression and the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, who led the human rights investigation into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, will deliver the lectures. Supplementary lectures by international experts will provide additional information on topics addressed by the main lectures or additional issues which could not be included in the core course.  Students will be actively invited to consult the supplementary videos to strengthen their knowledge. Weekly readings will be assigned from classic philosophical works on the concept of freedom of expression, key texts of international human rights law, significant decisions of international and national courts, as well as relevant news stories and video clips.  The course will provide access to case analyses from Columbia University's Global Case Law Database to illustrate the issues as well as for course assignments.  Most readings will be freely available on the Internet.

This Foundational Course is to be followed by an Advanced Course which will focus on the complex, and often awkward, interplay of global information flows with national jurisdiction and state sovereignty, and what it means for the realization of a borderless vision for the right to freedom of expression.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • The principles and values behind the protection of freedom of expression and information
  • The international standards and legal tests governing freedom of expression and how courts around the world have implemented them
  • The extent and limits to freedom of expression, particularly as applied to political speech, the media, and information held by governments.
WEEK ONE: MAKING A CASE FOR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: VALUES
  1. Introduction and Overview of the Class
  2. Why Freedom of Expression matters: The Search for Truth  
  3. Why Freedom of Expression matters: Self-Development and Tolerance
  4. Why Freedom of Expression matters: Democracy and Development
  5. Freedom of Expression: The Right to Truth and Summar
WEEK TWO: INTERNATIONAL NORMS ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
  1. Introduction and Overview
  2. Post WW2, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and freedom of Expression and Information
  3. Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  4. The European Convention and Freedom of Expression (article 10)
  5. The Inter-American Convention on Human Rights and Freedom of Expression (article 13)
  6. The African Convention of Human and People’s Rights
  7. Middle East and Asia Pacific
  8. The US First Amendment
WEEK THREE: LEGITIMATE RESTRICTIONS TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
  1. Introduction and Overview
  2. The Scope of Article 19 and its Regional Equivalents
  3. The Three Part Test: Legality
  4. The Three Part Test: Valid Grounds
  5. The Three Part Test: Necessary
WEEK FOUR: SCOPE OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
  1. Introduction and Overview
  2. Political Speech
  3. Speech of Public Officials
  4. Access to Government-Held Information
WEEK FIVE: SCOPE OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION (2)
  1. Press Freedom and Media Regulation
  2. The Regulation of the Written Press
  3. The Regulation of Broadcasting
  4. Journalists: Licensing
  5. Journalists: Protection of Sources

Meet your instructors

Agnès Callamard
Director, Global Freedom of Expression
Columbia University

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Learner testimonials

“I completed the Freedom of Expression in the Age of Globalization MOOC course. Challenging weekly quizzes, informative videos, engaging discussion and plenty of rigorous reading. Should be required course for all student journalists and those in newsrooms around the world. Very well done” – Journalist and Former Student