JOUR4330 – Freedom of Expression – Discourses, Principles and Practices

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course will explore the philosophical, legal, and cultural backgrounds of the ideas and practices of free expression, including their historical developments across diverse media, from speech and print through mass media to the Internet. 

Both historical and contemporary challenges to free expression, including national security, religious diversity, and multiculturalism, will be considered in-depth, along with the specific roles and responsibilities of journalistic media in a context of social and technological change.

Learning outcome

The students shall develop a critical understanding of the key features of freedom of expression:

  • as a human and democratic right
  • with special emphasis on its importance in relation to different media
  • in an international and comparative perspective.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Admission as master student, with a Bachelor´s Degree in Media Studies or equivalent.


Coursework will consist of lectures and seminar discussions, including in-class presentations based on case-study approaches. The lectures will highlight central founding ideas, emerging practices, legal developments, and representative debates as explored and illuminated through the readings and case-studies.

In addition to reading and making good use of the curriculum, students will be expected to contribute to seminars by providing case-study examples and recommendations for relevant texts and other resource material.

10 study points involve seven weeks of full time studies.

Maximum 30 students. The course may be canceled if fewer than 10 students apply.

Obligatory activities and absence

It is the student's own responsibility to stay informed about the obligatory activities, comply with the requirements for attendance and to uphold deadlines. Everyone must familiarize themselves with the rules concerning obligatory activities at the Faculty of Humanities. If you get ill or have other valid reasons for being absent from obligatory activities, you must apply for a leave of absence as soon as possible and no later than the day of absence or the deadline. Documentation of the absence must be sent to the institute within three working days. 


Obligatory qualifying assignment

The students are required to make presentations in class during the course. They are also required to submit a short written paper on the topic that they present in class before they are allowed to sit for the exam. The evaluation of this paper will not be part of the grade for the course. It is only graded with pass or a fail.

Term paper. The submitted paper may be up to 10 pages (one page is calculated to 2300 characters without spaces).

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Periodic evaluation Autumn 2010

Periodic evaluation spring 2013

Periodic evaluation spring 2014

Periodic evaluation spring 2017

Facts about this course





Teaching language