College of Liberal Arts

“Free Speech Dialogues” Examines Press Freedom, Publication of Government Secrets

Thursday Feb 9, 2012 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM | Peter T. Flawn Academic Center (FAC), Room 21

"Free Speech Dialogues," featuring a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a Reuters columnist and a constitutional and public law professor. Free and open to the public.

"Free Speech Dialogues" explores the meaning and application of the right to free speech. This is the third panel in a series, held once each semester, that delves into such controversial topics as hate speech, religious speech, digital communications, copyright, indecency on the airwaves, and academic speech. This semester's discussion will focus on Freedom of the Press and the Publication of Government Secrets.

Wikileaks’ disclosures during the past year are an obvious flashpoint, but panelists will also consider such questions as: Should the press enjoy broader rights of free expression than others? Does the mission of public service license special immunities? Who, exactly, qualifies as the press in the age of bloggers and do-it-yourself journalism? Does the public have a “right to know?” Does government secrecy undermine accountability?

The panelists:

Linda Greenhouse is the Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School. She assumed this position in 2009 after a 40-year career at The New York Times, including 30 years covering the United States Supreme Court. At Yale, she teaches courses related to the Supreme Court. Greenhouse has received numerous journalism awards for her reporting, including a Pulitzer Prize in 1998. 

Jack Shafer writes a column about the press and politics for Reuters, which he joined in 2011. Shafer worked at Slate for 15 years, first as deputy editor and then as the website's “Press Box” columnist. Before Slate, Shafer spent 11 years editing two alternative weeklies: San Francisco Weekly and Washington City Paper, where he estimates that he re-wrote, massaged or merely pressed the button on 500 features.

Michael Kent Curtis is the Judge Donald Smith Professor of Constitutional and Public Law at the Wake Forest University School of Law. He teaches constitutional law, legal and constitutional history, free speech, and rhetoric. Curtis is the author of “No State Shall Abridge: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights,” and “Free Speech, The People’s Darling Privilege: Struggles for Freedom of Expression in American History.”

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