Freedom of Expression in Practice

Academic Program: 

Instructor: Sejal Parmar

Credits: 2.0

Course description: 

This innovative course consolidates and deploys students’ existing academic knowledge of international, constitutional and comparative law on freedom of expression through exercises reflecting the actual practice of international human rights lawyers working for civil society organisations, governments, intergovernmental organisations, companies and in private practice. The course encourages students to hone and apply their research, drafting and presentation skills through a diversity of practical work pieces such as: planning an official fact-finding mission to a state; considering the type and content of intervention required in relation to a hypothetical scenario involving a serious freedom of expression violation; drafting a legal analysis on a piece of draft legislation; and developing arguments for an in-class moot court competition. The course engages with live challenges to the realisation of freedom of expression in the digital age, and involves students considering appropriate responses to such issues as: impunity for killings of journalists; the online harassment of female journalists; the responsibilities of social media platforms for harmful content (such as ‘terrorist’ or ‘extremist’ content, disinformation or ‘fake news’, and ‘hate speech’); and surveillance.