Free Expression

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Defend media in their oversight of good government, corporate accountability and economic development

Part Two of The Global Media Literacy Curriculum emphasizes Freedom of Expression as articulated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The DEFEND framework is the first section in Part Two.

The lesson plans in Part Two highlight the connections between media literacy and civil society and inform individuals about the importance of exercising their human right to freedom of expression.  Part Two of the curriculum teaches individuals

  1. to defend media in their oversight of good government, corporate accountability and economic development;
    to promote civil society by themselves becoming a responsible part of the communication chain; and
    to motivate media to better cover news by communicating to media their expectations for accuracy, fairness and transparency.

Click on any of the topics at right to read the DEFEND lesson plans.



Students who complete some or all of these lesson plans will have worked through the following points:

  • Media have a responsibility to report news and information ethically. The Preamble to the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists states: “Public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility.”

  • Insurgents, criminals, terrorists and corrupt politicians understand very well that it is the months or years of digging by professional reporters, most of them supported by traditional news organizations, that will expose misdeeds.

  • Investigative reporting provides the unambiguous evidence and credible “content” — documents, sources, doggedly checked and rechecked details —that the public desperately needs for a functioning, civilized, democratic and ultimately free society.

  • Honest and respectful communication among different sectors of society rarely occurs naturally. For this reason, open and pluralistic media are critical to fostering a respectful dialogue about any issue. Through media, a non-threatening informed debate can occur among all stakeholders. Media can ensure all voices in a community can be heard.

  • By letting every idea be examined and questioned, Freedom of Expression can serve as a “safety value” in a community, allowing people to vent their anger and frustrations and giving them a chance to be heard by their neighbors and in the corridors of power.

  • The worth of citizenship is devalued when information is censored or manipulated in times of crisis. Media play a central role as the key conduit for information and a potential catalyst for discussion and action.

  • Freedom of Expression inherently means listening to voices, raising questions and forwarding ideas that are outside the political and at times social or cultural mainstream majority. Ensuring freedom for media around the world that dare to publish those voices and questions and ideas is a priority.