Investigation 4: Restricting free speech: Political control of the media

Is freedom of speech an open space on which we place limitations, or is it the space which is left after we make laws prohibiting forms of speech. This is the provocative reconceptualisation of free speech provided by Professor Stanley Fish in his book, There's no such thing as free speech ... and it's a good thing, too (Oxford University Press, 1994). In other words, is freedom of speech a supreme right that we sometimes curtail, or is it a lesser right which is granted once all other rights are upheld first?

The investigation below will ask you to investigate two very different issues relating to freedom of speech and the media, and you will be asked to consider what, if any, restrictions are compatible with a free media in a democracy.

Issue 1 – Googled in China

Issue 2 – Can they say that?: The limits of free speech


Introduction | Introductory activity | The Investigations | Investigation 1 | Investigation 2 | Investigation 3 | Investigation 4 | Investigation 4 Issue 1 | Investigation 4 Issue 2