Media Freedom and Human Rights
Academic Program: Master of Public Administration (2 years)
Instructor: Sejal Parmar
Course description: Spring Term - Year One and Two Elective Course
This course examines the complex and multi-facetted relationship between the media and human rights in today's world. More specifically, against the backdrop of contemporary challenges and current controversies concerning media freedom, this course specifically looks at, on the one hand, the rights and freedoms of the media – particularly journalists, and those with whom they work, notably their sources – as protected by international law and, on the other hand, the role of the media in efforts to promote human rights. Through practical examples and case-studies, this course addresses such subjects as: international standards on media freedom; impunity for attacks on journalists; the impact of defamation laws; the regulation of the press; counter-terrorism policies and the media; the media's role in reporting abuses and human rights advocacy; and the media's role in promoting intercultural understanding. It also identifies major and emerging cross-cutting themes including: the interactions between the media and other actors (notably, state authorities, NGOs, the public at large and corporations); the relative importance placed on media freedom compared to other values (e.g. pluralism and diversity) and rights (e.g. equality, privacy and security); the challenges and opportunities of the Internet; and the media's exceptional role in exposing human rights abuses.