Lesson Plan

Free Speech and the Internet - Lesson

Lesson Plan

Level: Grades 10-12

Author: Jeff Gagnon, Media Education Specialist, MediaSmarts

This lesson is part of USE, UNDERSTAND & CREATE: A Digital Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools.


In this lesson students learn about the inherent tension within democratic societies between freedom of expression and freedom from hatred. They also learn how Canada has addressed these issues within the Criminal Code of Canada, the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This lesson is part of the Facing Online Hate lesson series.

Learning Outcomes

Students will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Understand how the Criminal Code, the Human Rights Act, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms apply to hate on the Internet
  • Understand the legal and ethical issues emerging from the tension between freedom of expression and freedom from incitement to hatred
  • Discuss various free-speech related media issues
  • Appreciate the challenges in applying laws to an international networked medium such as the Internet
  • Explore the ways that new media, the Internet, and communications technologies problematize the ability for countries to regulate speech of any kind.

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) are available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.

Lesson Kit: