Free Speech Case Studies


Censorship in Pakistan

Censorship in Pakistan

Are journalists obliged to speak up against repressive governments?
Read More
Actors Playing Protestors in Real Life

Actors Playing Protestors in Real Life

What are the ethics of Bollywood celebrities joining popular protest movements?
Read More
Changing Comments or Changing Minds?

Changing Comments or Changing Minds?

When a Pakistani newspaper uses an algorithm to change user comments to protest government censorship, what could go wrong?
Read More
Greta Thunberg and Her Harsh Critics

Greta Thunberg and Her Harsh Critics

What are the ethics of criticizing young political activists like Greta Thunberg?
Read More
Reality TV and Real Ethics

Reality TV and Real Ethics

[CASE STUDY]: If the reality TV show "Love Island" is a battlefield, who wins?
Read More
Beer Cans and Cancel Culture

Beer Cans and Cancel Culture

What are the ethical challenges when journalism and cancel culture meet?
Read More
Secret Facebook Groups and the Ethics of Democracy

Secret Facebook Groups and the Ethics of Democracy

People are turning to secret Facebook groups to express their political opinions. What are the ethical implications of this trend for democracy?
Read More
Fighting the Amazon Fires with Misinformation

Fighting the Amazon Fires with Misinformation

What are the ethical dilemmas posed by celebrity activists using not-so-accurate information on social media to save the environment?
Read More
Matters of Facebook Live or Death

Matters of Facebook Live or Death

What are the ethical worries over Facebook Live and immediate internet broadcasting?
Read More
Limiting or Lifesaving?

Limiting or Lifesaving?

Are there any ethical problems with banning anti-vaccination content from social media platforms?
Read More
Halloween Hijinks and Internet Shaming

Halloween Hijinks and Internet Shaming

[CASE STUDY]: What ethical decisions await those dressing up for Halloween--and those reacting to racially insensitive costumes?
Read More
Netflix and Kill

Netflix and Kill

What are the ethics of portraying heinous criminals in popular films?
Read More
Social Media Activism or Mere Slacktivism?

Social Media Activism or Mere Slacktivism?

When online activists vow to make a villain famous, what could go wrong?
Read More
The Ethics of Computer-Generated Actors

The Ethics of Computer-Generated Actors

What ethical concerns arise when filmmakers use CGI to resurrect dead actors?
Read More
When Does Artistic Creativity Become the Exploitation of Children?

When Does Artistic Creativity Become the Exploitation of Children?

What ethical concerns arise when a prominent photographic artist uses her children in her work?
Read More
“One Does Not Simply Create a Meme”

“One Does Not Simply Create a Meme”

When does the creation and sharing of internet memes go too far?
Read More
Sacking Social Media in College Sports

Sacking Social Media in College Sports

Should college athletes be limited in their use of social media?
Read More
Defending Freedom of Tweets?

Defending Freedom of Tweets?

What are the ethical challenges that arise when professional athletes share their views on social media?
Read More
The Wild West of Sports Journalism?

The Wild West of Sports Journalism?

Do the ethics of sports blogs differ from mainstream journalism, especially when covering sexual scandals?
Read More
Is It Only A Game?

Is It Only A Game?

First-person shooter video games are popular. But are they ethical to enjoy?
Read More

More cases coming soon!


Case studies produced by the Media Ethics Initiative remain the intellectual property of the Media Ethics Initiative and the University of Texas at Austin. They can be used in unmodified PDF form without permission for classroom use. For use in publications such as textbooks and other works, please contact the Media Ethics Initiative.