Faculty of Arts

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitCommunications and Media Studies
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2014 (Day)
Clayton First semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Elizabeth Burns Coleman


Previously coded COM3160


Privacy laws, internet filtering, classification codes and whistleblowing are major issues in contemporary media and policy debates. This unit will explore the ideal of freedom of expression, and the principles governments use to limit this freedom. The first part of the unit covers the reasons why we think freedom of expression is important, and the strength of the arguments used to justify it. The second part of the unit applies these ideas to contemporary moral and political debates, such as whistleblowing and leaking, privacy and defamation, hate speech, pornography, computer games, classification laws, sedition, and internet filtering.


On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the main ideas informing policy and media debates about communication
  2. critically assess the arguments that justify freedom of expression, and the reasons this freedom may be limited
  3. understand basic moral frameworks and identify moral issues
  4. articulate a coherent position about a current issue relating to freedom of expression
  5. explain their ideas and justify their conclusions in oral and written contexts.


Written work: 90%
Tutorial preparation and participation: 10%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

One 2-hour seminar per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


A gateway unit in Communications or approval of unit coordinator