This course examines freedom of speech and the legal regulation of the media that affects it. The course touches on a number of themes that underlie the understanding of the role of the media in a democratic society: including the concept of the "public interest". The course also includes an introduction to understanding the "negative" and "positive" aspects of free speech that shape free speech regulation and legal practice (in particular freedom of expression and press freedom in national and international law). The course then examines legitimate restrictions on free speech and publication that seek to promote or preserve specific private and/or public interests. The major private interests considered are the interests of reputation (defamation), privacy, and copyright law. The major public interests would include the impartiality of political speech, the right of reply, public safety, etc.

This course aims at teaching you the applied aspects of the field of strategic communication, a theory, a broader societal context, and how to analyze a public relations problem using research techniques and results. You will also beef up your advocacy/ public relations skills through hands-on assignments and in-class discussions. In public relations, you are paid to give voice to an organization (or individual) and represent it in communication with its publics. Many organizations and individuals claim to practice public relations, yet implement techniques that are not based on research, which gives an understanding of the situation (real-world behavior), or that lack ethics. The term “public relations” gets bandied about often in the news media and political discourses, but there is still much confusion over the definition of public relations and its scope. This course will introduce you to the theory, principles, and techniques of public relations and mass communication. In turn, these knowledge and skills will help you solve real-life strategic communication and public relations problems in Kyrgyzstan.