Concept

The course introduces students to current issues related to the protection and enforcement of human rights and the peculiarities of the new media. This subject gives participating students an understanding of the most important legal and social issues concerning human rights and media; and the possibilities to find balance between declarative rights and practical standards accepted by the media community itself. The concrete aim of the course will be to explore how the legal and media communities have reacted to the challenges created by the development of the new media, especially regarding the exercise of freedom of expression and simultaneously maintaining core fundamental rights such as the right to privacy.

The general objective is to indicate possible scenarios for future development by international legal and civil communities when they search balanced responses to these new challenges. Discussions during the course help to formulate the general outcome of the project, e.g. reply to the question whether it is possible to formulate and thereafter effectively realize general horizontal standards of human rights protection in new media.

Learning outcome

The participants of the course will understand why the new media is generating challenges to the media and legal communities and the civil society at large. The participants will obtain most recent information of the doctrinal approaches to these challenges, as well as how legislators (both internationally and domestically) and the courts have reacted. The participants will obtain knowledge to analyse what factors the new media enterprises need to take into account when planning their development strategies, as well as what standards of journalistic accountability from the traditional media paradigm can be utilized by the new media. The participants will also obtain knowledge to evaluate which human rights strategies can lead to highest degree of compliance.

The innovative aspect of the course lies in the interdisciplinary approach. The course brings together legal and media methodological tools for addressing the matters of freedom of expression and the right to privacy, The theme of exploring the possibility to shift the responsibility for maintaining these core fundamental right from vertical relationships to horizontal accountability is by itself new in international academic discourse. The unique aspect of the instruction lies in the involvement of the participating students who as the active new media users can discuss, under guidance from the instructors, the practicality of theoretical solutions.

The instructors aim to achieve the goals of the intensive course via interactive discussions, leading the participating students to independently find relevant facts, determine problems and offer solutions. The instructors rely on materials from leading scholars in the field, as well as strategy and fact-establishing documents by international (non-governmental) organizations, judgments of regional and national courts, as well as reports by various civil organizations. The didactical approach opens through the critical review of discussion results by student groups, where the students present the conclusions and findings of their group work.

Assessment

50% coursework, 50% examination results. The assessment of coursework is based upon the performance in class discussions. It is not relevant whether the students is able to give the ’right’ answers, since the instructors will evaluate the willingness of each student to contribute towards the goals of the analytical exercises. For discussing each topic the students will be divided into 8-member groups (two students from each participating university).

Then each group will present briefly the content of their discussion, followed by comments of the instructor. Students are expected to read in advance articles and other materials determined by the instructors. The course will end with in-class examination, where the participants are asked to write two short analytical essays on topics covered in the class.

The credits are recognized as part of the degree studies at home universities.


Law and Media summer school takes place in Jurmala, Latvia 13th-18th June 2016