Announcing the Center for Media Law and Policy’s 2017-18 Affiliated Faculty

We are excited to announce the Center’s 2017-18 faculty affiliates. This year, the Center added six scholars to our returning group of affiliated faculty, and we are thrilled to have them join our community. Our newest faculty affiliates are:

  • Frayda Bluestein, David M. Lawrence Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government, UNC School of Government
  • Deen Freelon, Associate Professor, UNC School of Media and Journalism
  • William Marshall, William Rand Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law, UNC School of Law
  • Alice Marwick, Assistant Professor, UNC Department of Communication
  • Torin Monahan, Professor, UNC Department of Communication
  • Zeynep Tufecki, Associate Professor, UNC School of Information and Library Science

They will be joining our returning faculty affiliates: Penny Abernathy, Victoria Smith Ekstrand, Deborah Gerhardt, Anne Gilliland, Ferrel GuilloryDave Hansen, Michael Hoefges, Paul Jones, Anne Klinefelter, Daniel Kreiss, Cal Lee, Gary Marchionini, Mary-Rose Papandrea, and Ryan Thornburg. You can read about each of these amazing scholars on our Affiliated Faculty page.

Affiliates of the Center are a community of scholars interested in the interdisciplinary exploration of issues related to media law and policy. Faculty affiliates play an active role in the life of the Center by participating in the Center’s activities and identifying opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations.

Image by Martin Grandjean licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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Center Co-Director’s First Amendment Day Remarks Published in the News and Observer

One of the highlights of First Amendment Day this year was the morning keynote address by Center for Media Law and Policy Co-Director Cathy Packer. Dr. Packer set the tone for the day, reminding us all of the importance of free expression and how vital it is that we continue to protect it. Today, The News & Observer published her remarks as an op-ed. You may find the article at http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article175888201.html.

“Carolina still is a wonderful and exciting place where young people see, hear, read and say things they’ve never before encountered or even imagined. This helps them to create their own views and values.

Of course, because we have a more diverse student body and faculty than ever before, we have more diversity of opinion on campus – and more disagreements. In that way, we’re no different than the rest of the country.

But in other ways we are different from the rest of the nation – or at least we should be. We should celebrate our diversity and learn from it. That’s what we’re here for – to learn. And the free exchange of ideas still is the best way to learn.”

-Dr. Cathy Packer, UNC First Amendment Day 2017

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UNC First Amendment Day is Tuesday!

It’s almost time for what we at the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy think is the best day of the year! On Tuesday, Sept. 26, UNC will celebrate its ninth-annual First Amendment Day! This day of events is one of the highlights of the year at the Center, and we are thrilled to share it with our wonderful campus.

We have an exciting schedule for our day-long event this year.  From public readings of banned books to panels on the state of campus speech, this year’s First Amendment Day is sure to foster meaningful discussion about the state of the First Amendment as well as the University’s unique role in the marketplace of ideas.

This year’s Opening Ceremony will kick-off the day at 9:30 a.m with great speakers, including Center Co-Directors Dr. Cathy Packer and Professor David Ardia. In addition, we will hear from School of Media and Journalism Dean Susan King and UNC student body president Elizabeth Adkins. Next will be a student debate on Ethics and the First Amendment at 11:00 a.m. The debate will cover two issues: offensive speech in comedy performances and limitations on religious freedoms in the U.S. military. Following the debate, the Law School will host a panel on the Future of Free Expression, which will include a discussion of the state’s recent Campus Free Speech Act. Panelists include N. C. Rep. Jonathan Jordan and Professor Mary-Rose Papandrea, UNC Law’s Dean of Academic Affairs.

Starting at noon, members of the Coalition of Youth Librarians (COYL) and others from the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS), including SILS Dean Gary Marchionini, will participate in a reading of books that have been banned from school and public libraries. The readings will continue until 2:30 p.m.

To kick off the afternoon, retired Marine Corps sergeant and investigative journalist Thomas Brennan will speak at the at the Reese News Lab in Carroll Hall at 1:00 p.m., discussing how his work led to Congressional investigations and reform earlier this year. Next, we will tackle the state of campus speech at UNC directly with the panel titled, “Who Can Speak at Carolina?” The panel will include speakers from across campus, including Gabbie Johnson, a recent UNC Law grad and participant in the Silent Sam sit-in; Carolina Review and Daily Tar Heel contributors; and the Center’s own Research Fellow, Rachael Jones. Then, at 3:30 p.m., UNC student journalists from The Daily Tar Heel, Carolina Week, and other student publications will discuss how their work is affected by negative public opinion about the press, social media, and more. 

Leading up to our keynote address, the Carolina Ukulele Ensemble will celebrate the right to make music in Carroll Hall starting at 6:30 p.m. Finally, our keynote speaker, Professor Bill Adair, will discuss the future of the free press. Professor Adair is the creator of the Pulitzer Prize-winning website Politifact. He is the director of the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy and the Knight Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy at Duke University.

To wrap up our free-speech-filled day, we are hosting a First Amendment Trivia night at Linda’s Bar and Grill! The questions start at 8:00 p.m. You can compete to test your knowledge of the First Amendment rights or simply sit back and enjoy the fun. Either way, it will be a fun (and competitive) end to a great day.

We hope to see everyone at our many events this year! For more information on the schedule, events, speakers, and history of First Amendment Day, visit our webpage. Don’t forget to share your photos and thoughts from the day with us by using the hashtag #uncfree! If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Center.

See you Tuesday!

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Now Hiring: Join Us at the UNC Center for Media Law & Policy

Those who follow First Amendment law know that we are in a critical moment in its history. We need more people on the front lines researching media law and its impact.

We are pleased to announce that the School of Media and Journalism at UNC is searching for an outstanding assistant or associate professor to conduct research and teach in its internationally renowned media law and policy program. Our new colleague would also play a vital role in the life of the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy.

To learn more about this position and to apply go here: Assistant/Associate Professor in Media Law

UNC-Chapel Hill is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The University reaffirms its commitment to equality of opportunity and pledges that it will not practice or permit discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, genetic information, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

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UNC Media Law Doctoral Student Wins Top Paper Award for NCA 2017

We are pleased to announce that UNC  doctoral student Shao Chengyuan has won the top student paper award from the Communication and Law Division of the National Communication Association (NCA) this year. Chengyuan will present her paper at the NCA’s annual conference in Dallas, Texas in November. Congratulations, Shao!

Chengyuan studies media law in the UNC School of Media and Journalism. She joined the program in 2015 after earning a master’s in communication from Beijing Foreign Studies University and a bachelor’s in English from China Agricultural University in Beijing. She has now studies media law issues in China, specifically new media-related legislation and the legal boundaries of online free speech.

Chengyuan’s paper, which was blind-reviewed in the NCA’s paper competition,  is titled “Internet Defamation in China: Criminal Cases Since the 2013 Supreme People’s Court Judicial Interpretation.” Here is the abstract.

“This paper examines the recent development in Chinese defamation law, specifically the establishment of a 2013 judicial interpretation by the Supreme People’s Court that criminalized Internet defamation. This paper uses the language of Chinese law and analyzes eight Internet defamation cases decided after the 2013 judicial interpretation on Internet defamation. The criminal cases analyzed in this paper showed how Chinese public prosecutors have employed the new legal rules in cases deemed as threats to public order and state interests, as well as how Chinese individuals, acting as private prosecutors, have pursued criminal defamation prosecutions against online speakers. This paper takes into consideration the cultural and historical background of Chinese criminal defamation law and argues that, in addressing the lack of free speech protection under the current criminal defamation law, Chinese legislators need to consider raising the standard of fault for public officials and eventually abolishing the “state interest clause” of the criminal defamation statute.”

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