Freedom of speech is among the most hotly discussed constitutional rights in a liberal democratic state. This unit of study will aim at clarifying some of the fundamental conceptual and normative foundations of freedom of speech, always against the background of specific legal rules, cases and controversies in Australia and around the world. The theoretical part will consider such issues as the fundamental justifications (rationales) for freedom of speech, the idea of 'content neutrality' and 'viewpoint neutrality' of speech restrictions, the distinction between speech and conduct, etc. The unit will then look at such issues as hate speech, obscenity, defamation, offense to religious feelings etc., trying to distil general philosophical and legal principles behind regulation of these categories of expression. The unit will be highly interactive, and will largely rely on student presentations of topics which will be then developed in student essays.
Aug 10, 11 and Aug 31, Sep 1 (9-5)
class participation (10%), class presentation (30%) and 5000wd essay (60%)
Wojciech Sadurski, Freedom of Speech and Its Limits