This course will focus on the multiple challenges to freedom of expression brought about by the technology revolution of the last two decades. On one hand, it has given the world the means to realize its commitment to freedom of information without frontiers. 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. On the other hand, it has also precipitated or heightened a range of normative, regulatory and political issues related to the protection of free speech, on and offline. This course will examine the complex, and often awkward, interplay of global information flows with national jurisdiction and state sovereignty, its effects on democracy and fundamental rights, and what it means for the realization of a borderless vision for the right to freedom of expression.
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 Advanced Course was preceded by a Foundational Course, which introduces the international system of protection for freedom of expression. Enrolling in the Foundational Course is recommended before undertaking this Advanced Course to those who are not familiar with international human rights law and freedom of expression issues.