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Lesson Plan:

For Teachers: Canada’s Free Press

Type: Assignment
Subjects: History, Media Studies, English Language Arts
Grades: Grades 11-12
Duration: 3 lessons
Purpose: To reflect on the importance of the free press in Canada
Summary: Students discuss and write an editorial about freedom of the press in Canada.

Before Exploring

If students have not completed the activity "Introduction to Media Concentration and Convergence" on this topic, have them do so now.

On the board or chart paper, create a word web for the word "freedom." Ask students to name all of the freedoms that they know (e.g., speech, religion, opinion, press). Discuss what these freedoms mean and how they personally affect the students.

Provide students with following quotation, from the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers." As a class, analyze this quotation with a focus on media. Ask: Why is media so important in a discussion of freedom of opinion and expression?

Outline the Opportunity

Direct students to the topic Concentration to Convergence: Media Ownership in Canada on the CBC Digital Archives website. In small groups, students will review the site to respond to the following questions:

What would Canada be like if all newspapers and newscasts were filled with government press releases and the government was never criticized?

Why is freedom of the press important?

What can inhibit the freedom of the press?

Why must freedom of the press be used with responsibility?

Discuss the responses with the class.

Provide students with the download sheet Canada's Free Press, which includes the following quotation from philosopher and writer Albert Camus: "A free press can of course be good or bad, but most certainly without freedom it will never be anything but bad." Each student will write an editorial that explores the meaning of this quotation and how it applies to the free press in Canada.

Revisit and Reflect

Ask students to read their editorials aloud to the class. Students should be prepared to ask and answer questions.


Students can research the freedom of the press in another country of their choice to discover to what degree it adheres or does not adhere to the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

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