5. Freedom of Expression as a Human Right

This session focuses on freedom of expression and how it is protected in the international human rights documents.

Freedom of expression is an essential part of personal development, democracy and finding the truth. But are there situations where this human right should be restricted? In this session the students will work in groups and explore arguments for and against complete freedom of expression. Afterwards, the session leader will hold a lecture on how freedom of expression is protected in international human rights documents. Under which circumstances do states have a right to restrict this freedom?

NB: This session´s lecture would also be a good fit after the session on the philosophical foundation of freedom of speech.


The students shall
  • understand the most important reasons behind freedom of expression, but also understand that there might also be arguments to restrict it
  • learn that according to human rights conventions, states are allowed to restrict freedom of expression in some situations, under certain conditions
  • comprehend how important it is to debate the situations where governments restrict freedom of expression
  • understand that in a democracy, the level of freedom of expression should be high



About 3 hours.

A large room with ample space for group work, large sheets of paper, markers, pen and paper.

A lecture on freedom of expression and how it is protected in the UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights and in the European Convention on Human Rights (40 minutes).


 Educational elements


Lillian Hjorth, Director, Human Rights Academy (Norway)

An online manual on intercultural understanding, ethics and human rights to be used by teachers and students in journalism education. Read more.

Email : post@journalism-edu.org

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