What The Future Holds for Free Speech, Free Press

Gene Policinski, headshot

“As we all consider the future for these two essential First Amendment freedoms, Nashville seems a good microcosm of the national discussion around those rights.” -Gene Policinski, president and chief operating officer, Freedom Forum Institute.

A public discussion on the state of free speech and a free press will be held Monday, Oct. 29 at the John Seigenthaler Center, on the Vanderbilt University campus, in Nashville, Tenn. — with a unique opportunity for the public to present views via two “open mic” sessions.

The program is sponsored by the Freedom Forum Institute and The Tennessean, Nashville’s leading multimedia source of news. The Seigenthaler Center is part of the Institute and its First Amendment Center. The event is free and open to the public.

“As we all consider the future for these two essential First Amendment freedoms, Nashville seems a good microcosm of the national discussion around those rights,” said Gene Policinski, president and chief operating officer of the Freedom Forum Institute. “We believe it’s important to hear from a diverse set of voices on both the opportunities and challenges of speaking freely and of the state of contemporary journalism.”

A unique element of the program is two “open mic” sessions, where citizens can voice their views on the future of free speech and a free press. The program’s content and public comments will be valuable in themselves, but also will significantly contribute to consideration of a new multi-year program by the Institute aimed at building public understanding and support for free expression and journalism. There also will be Q&As with program participants after each panel.

The program is supported in part by a grant from the Charles Koch Foundation, founded in 1980, which funds research and education that helps people expand their horizons, develop their skills and help others. The program’s content and participants were set by the Freedom Forum Institute, the education and outreach partner of the Freedom Forum and Newseum, with a mission to champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment through programs at the Newseum, the First Amendment Center, the Religious Freedom Center, NewseumED, an online learning platform for students and teachers, and through special initiatives intended to support a free press.

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