On censorship and freedom of speech

This presentation was prepared for a class of journalism ethics, as part of a discussion on freedom of speech. It includes videos embedded from Youtube. The images and videos included in this presentation contain material that may be offensive to some audiences. They have been included for educational purposes.

The dates and facts showcased in the slides are taken from the chronology at the beginning of the book: A History of News by Mitchell Stephens (2007)

Foreword – George Carlin on Rights

“Rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away” (George Carlin).

Where do rights come from?

Part I – Freedom of Speech – a brief historical account

a.) News at the service of the higher powers


b.) First comes the printing press…


c.) …and along comes censorship

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d.) Newspapers & Revolution

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e.) News in the time of war

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f.) Modern-day censorship

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Part Ia – Journalism as an industry


The Age of Show-business


Part II – On art, moralism and  satire

a.) The Renaissance – Humanism collide with the dogmas of the Middle Ages

Who are the characters portrayed in Raphael’s fresco The School of Athens (c1510)?



Who was Martin Luther? What were his 95 Theses?

Who was Erasmus? How is he (and Luther) related to the pictures below?



b.) Art in the Press


Who is the author of this print? What’s the story behind it?



What’s the name of the author of the series of satirical prints Los Caprichos?





What do these cartoons mean? Are the issues they portray still relevant today?


c.) Social and political commentary in the age of the Internet

“the Western world has to make it clear, some things about our culture are not negotiable (…) one of them is freedom of speech” (Bill Maher)


Do we have more (or less) rights today than 20 years ago? 50 years ago?


… how far can (and should) the limits of freedom of speech go in a globalized planet?