The Master's Degree Programme in Media and Global Communication


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Spring 2015


MGC 3) The Fourth Generation? Human rights and communication in the digital era, 5 ECTS, code: 7700726

This course is part of the international Master's Degree Programme on Media and Global Communication. The language of study and assessment is English. The course consists of both online and face to face attendance.

Target group: Priority is given to students of the Media and Global Communication master’s programme and to master’s level exchange students of the Media and Communication Studies unit. 30 students at most will be accepted to the course.

Participation: Regular participation in online discussions and weekly assignments is required.

Preregistration in WebOodi was required between February 12 - February 18, 2015. Registeration for the course has closed.

Dates: IV. Period 9.3.- 4.5.2015


1) Online attendance, for further information please see WebOodi and follow the instructions provided by the lecturer

2) Dates, times and the place of the face to face sessions are as follows:

Wed 11.3. at 14-16
Wed 8.4. at 14-16
Wed 15.4. at 14-16
Wed 22.4. at 14-16

Place: Unioninkatu 40, room 13

Lecturer: Dr. Minna Aslama Horowitz

Course Description:

The United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights lays out three 'generations' or themes of issues that set up standards for evaluating and implementing ideals of rights for all of us. Article 19 of social rights, on freedom of expression, is often stated as a benchmark in debates and studies of international and development communication. In a world that is increasingly mediatized, the media and communication technologies face, and create, new challenges in terms of our basic rights. 

Individuals and groups from Aaron Swartz and Edward Snowden to the Anonymous and Pirat Partiet have begun to challenge existing regimes limiting Internet and other communications freedoms.  How is free speech supported, and challenged, by global social media platforms? Should Internet access be a universal right? Why are privacy advocates and journalists debating the recent revision of EU's data protection rules, namely the right to be forgotten in the digital realm? Should we create 'a new generation' of universal digital rights to respond to the challenges of the Internet, social networks, and mobile communication? 

This course will examine human rights and communication from the perspectives of international, governmental and non-governmental organizations, media organizations themselves, as well as informal activist groups and individuals. We will look at the media-related challenges of human rights in different country contexts of the global North and South. We will also conduct case studies on on-going debates, in particular regarding the possible role of the media communication technologies in the UN post-2015 development goals. 

Note that this course is praxis-oriented.

Course Literature:

Berry, D. (2014). Critical Theory and the Digital. New York: Bloomsbury.
Scott, M. (2014). Media Development. London: Zen Books.
Ziccardi, G. (2013). Resistance, Liberation Technology and Human Rights in the Digital Age. Heidelberg, New York, London: Springer.

As well as selected chapters from:

- Akrivopoulos & Garibaldis (eds., 2012). Human Rights and Risks in the Digital Era. Globalization and the Effects of Information Technologies. Hershey, PA: IIGI Global.
- Mandiberg, M (2012). The Social Media Reader. New York: NYU Press.


- Small weekly assignments during the online segment of the course = total 30%. Online assignments are always due within one week (posted Wed -> due next Wed midnight Helsinki time). The exception: The 9.3. Questionnaire is due 11.3. at noon.

- Students will participate in thematic group workshops that will result in project plans/policy briefs and short presentations during the F2F period week of the course on one's research idea, combining theory and praxis. Those completing the course entirely online will be able to present virtually . 25%

- The final research project. This can be a conventional 15-20-page research paper, or a 10-15 min. video (documentary) coupled with a 4-5-page concept paper with literature references. 45%


Grading scale: 1,2,3,4,5.

Fail (F), 1 (Sufficient = E), 2 (Satisfactory = D), 3 ( Good = C), 4 (Very Good = B ), 5 (Excellent = A).