Archive | Event

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 on campus 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 director of the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy at Duke University, where he is the Knight Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy.

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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Center Co-Director to Join Discussion of Section 230 and Backpage.com

Media Law Center Co-Director Cathy Packer will participate in a panel discussion following a screening of the documentary I Am Jane Doe on campus next week. The film chronicles the legal battles of three young girls who were trafficked through the advertising website Backpage.com

Packer will join panelists from UNC Project Dinah, Project FIGHT, and the Orange County Rape Crisis Center to discuss the many issues surrounding Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the federal law that limits websites’ liability for content that others post on their sites. Section 230 has long been hailed as one of “the most valuable tools for protecting freedom of expression and innovation on the Internet.” However, the law has been subjected to intense scrutiny since the classified advertisement website Backpage.com escaped liability after it was revealed that some of the site’s users used the site for sex trafficking.

The panelists will address the problems and benefits of Section 230, including recent federal legislation aimed at amending its broad reach. Ultimately, the panel will discus the necessary balance between Internet freedom and user protections.

The event will be held on September 14th at the UNC School of Social Work Auditorium on Pittsboro Street. The screening will begin at 7 P.M. Admission is free. Attendees are encouraged to submit questions for the post-film discussion with the panel via Twitter, using @Project_NO_REST, #IAmJaneDoe. The panel will also take questions live in the auditorium.

For more information about the film, visit its website. If you have questions about the event, contact Jennie Vaughn at jsvaughn@email.unc.edu.

We hope to see you there!

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UNC Celebrated Its Sixth Annual First Amendment Day Event

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill celebrated its sixth annual First Amendment Day on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. This campus-wide, daylong event celebrated the First Amendment and explored its role in the lives of Carolina students.

University community members read from banned books, a cappella groups sung controversial music, and many people participated in panels to discuss the importance of the First Amendment.

Click on the story ‘First Amendment and First Freedoms’ to read more about the different events that students enjoyed on First Amendment Day or visit the webpage.
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First Amendment Day is organized by the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy. The UNC Center for Media Law and Policy is a collaboration between the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the School of Law.

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C-SPAN, UNC-TV to televise inaugural Hargrove Colloquium

C-SPAN and UNC-TV will televise today’s inaugural Wade H. Hargrove Communications Law and Policy Colloquium, hosted by the Center for Media Law and Policy. Hearst TV CEO David Barrett and ABC News President Ben Sherwood will discuss the future of TV news and the challenges and opportunities media companies face in this age of digital convergence.

The colloquium begins at 5:30 p.m. in the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on UNC’s campus and is free and open to the public. For more information, see the event page and a full description of the event and speakers by the Center’s co-director, David Ardia.

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Symposium will contemplate 50 years of press freedom

Almost 50 years ago, Justice William J. Brennan Jr., writing for the Supreme Court, expressed “a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.”

Tomorrow, the UNC First Amendment Law Review will bring together media law experts to reflect on and debate just how free the press has been to cover and criticize public officials since the landmark ruling in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, which established the “actual malice” test. Under the test, a public official suing for libel must prove that defamatory content was published with “knowledge of falsity” or “reckless disregard for the truth.”

As a result of “New York Times Actual Malice,” the press and the public are free to criticize government officials’ and public figures’ job performance, scrutinize their personal lives, and even attack their character.

Some think the Court went too far when it held that falsity was not enough to make a speaker liable for defaming a public official. Others say it hasn’t gone far enough and should protect the publication of any false content when reporting on matters of public controversy.

The First Amendment Law Review Symposium will consist of two panels of First Amendment and media law scholars including:

  • Vincent Blasi, Corliss Lamont Professor of Civil Liberties at Columbia Law School
  • Bruce Brown, Executive Director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
  • Ronald Cass, Dean Emeritus of Boston University School of Law
  • Stuart Benjamin, Douglas B. Maggs Chair in Law at Duke Law
  • George Wright, Michael McCormick Professor of Law at Indiana University
  • Ashley Messenger, Associate General Counsel for National Public Radio

The event will begin with a keynote address from Ken Paulson, President and CEO of the First Amendment Law Center, followed by a 30 minute Q&A.  The morning panel will then examine the impact of the Sullivan decision on the media, while the afternoon panel will discuss its broader implications on First Amendment jurisprudence.

Visit the event page for more information.

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