Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 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

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FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitCommunications and Media Studies
OfferedNot offered in 2013
Coordinator(s)Dr Elizabeth Burns Coleman


Previously coded COM2160


In this unit, students 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 then applies these ideas to contemporary moral and political controversies, such as whistle-blowing and leaking, privacy, hate speech, pornography, role playing computer games, classification laws, and internet filtering. The issues covered in any year may change depending on public debates at the time.


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

  1. critically assess the arguments that justify freedom of expression, and the reasons this freedom may be limited
  2. understand basic moral frameworks and identify moral issues
  3. understand the basic principles restricting liberties
  4. articulate a coherent position about a current issue relating to freedom of expression
  5. explain complex ideas
  6. write a well structured, and properly referenced essay.

A higher level will be expected of third-year students in terms of the integration of diverse sources, and academic essay writing skills.


Freedom of communication essay (900 words): 20%
Research essay (1350 words): 30%
Exam (2 hours; 1800 words equivalent): 40%
Tutorial preparation and participation (450 words equivalent): 10%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

One 1-hour lecture and one 1-hour seminar per week

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


Communications and Media Studies sequence or other approved first-year sequence