Theoretical Foundations

Theoretical Foundations

Drawing on the work of thinkers from various political, cultural and religious traditions, the Module provides resources that explore why freedom of expression and information matters. It distinguishes between the main theories underpinning the protection of free speech and the rejection of censorship, and links these philosophical arguments to more recent international political developments.

7 items found, showing 1 - 7

The search for truth

Author: John Milton
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This is a polemical tract in defence of press freedoms, and free speech generally, on philosophical grounds.

Author: Columbia Global Freedom of Expression
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Here you will find the Syllabus for the MOOC 'Freedom of Expression in the Age of Globalization' created by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression. This course will examine the norms, institutions and forces that altogether have founded a global system of protection for freedom of expression and information. The Foundational Course will include four main segments. It will first survey the thinking of 19th century and contemporary political theorists, Judges in the early years of the twentieth century, and economists to discover why freedom of expression and information matters, and the values and principles that are established through free speech. The second will review the emergence of an international system of protection for freedom of expression, including the international and regional institutions and standards, and the role of international courts. The third and fourth class will focus on the scope of freedom of expression and on its legitimate limits. We will provide answer two key questions: What kind of speech is protected under international standards? What kind of speech may be restricted by Governments and how can it be legally restricted?

Introduction to Human Rights | Lesson 9: "Freedom of Expression"

Author: Tomás Vial, MOOC Chile
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This lesson is part of an International Human Rights free online course created by the MOOC Chile project. The lesson answer the questions: What is freedom of expression? And why it is an important right? "In this class [they] first refer to the sources of freedom of speech in international human rights law as well as to which aspects are covered by it. [They] will also explain which types of discourse are protected and which not. Then [they] will summarize the main justifications given for protecting speech freedom. After that, [they] will deal with the main restrictions to which the freedom of expression may be subjected." 

Author: John Stuart Mill
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Mill argues for limited governmental intervention in silencing or compelling speech, emphasizes the value of contrary and minority opinions and presents a principle on which any governmental action in respect of speech should be based.

John Stuart Mill. On Liberty. London: Longman, Roberts, & Green Co. 1869. Library of Economics and Liberty. Available from http://www.econlib.org/library/Mill/mlLbty2.html

Author: Walter Bagehot
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Bagehot argues for toleration by the state and under law of a diversity of opinions, and argues that discussions and exchange of opinions must be in pursuit of uncovering truths.

Walter Bagehot, The Works and Life of Walter Bagehot, ed. Mrs. Russell Barrington. The Works in Nine Volumes. The Life in One Volume. (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1915). Vol. 6. https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2264

Author: Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, Agnès Callamard
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In this segment of the MOOC 'Freedom of Expression in the Age of Globalizationcreated by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, Agnès Callamard explores how the various free speech theories have been integrated in a number of global public policy initiatives.

Author: Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, Agnès Callamard
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In this segment of the MOOC 'Freedom of Expression in the Age of Globalization' created by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, Agnès Callamard explores why freedom of expression and information matters, and the values and principles that are established through free speech. Specifically this video explores two interrelated free speech theories: 1) personal autonomy and 2) the search for truth