How do we hold up the principles of the First Amendment in contemporary society?

The Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law continues to research and defend the issues of the First Amendment, privacy, information, defamation and more. In the past year alone, the Silha Center has studied the anti-press rhetoric of the current administration; Facebook and Google with regards to data privacy issues; the safety of reporters like the Washington Post’s Jamal Khashoggi and the victims at the Capital Gazette; net neutrality; the Freedom of Information Act; censorship and the President’s claim that social media companies are politically biased; defamation and more.

In October 2018, the Silha Center hosted its annual lecture, focusing on the #MeToo movement and a defamation case against Harvey Weinstein brought by attorney Ted Boutrous Jr. on behalf of actress Ashley Judd. Boutrous said during the lecture that Judd decided to bring the lawsuit in order to set a legal precedent that would help those who experience retaliation in the workplace bring their own lawsuits in the future. 

In April 2019, the Silha Center held it’s spring forum to examine how to balance First Amendment protections for freedom of the press and the Sixth Amendment, which provides that the accused has access to a fair trial. 

The research into and the study of these laws and ethical issues is always needed as society, technology and news organizations change, said Silha Center Director Jane Kirtley. “We fought all these battles in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, but people are concerned about the new technology and privacy issues of today.”