Columbia University News: First Amendment Center Institute Accepts Free Speech


Columbia University First Amendment center will govern all types of public speech. The center will be named 'The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University'.

The Ivy League university and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation contributes $30 million each for the endowment funds. According to press release, the launch of this new institute will preserve the First Amendment rights.

As an approach to accommodate free speech, the First Amendment principles will be applied to 'protect future generations' because of the many threats against free speech. The First Amendment law in the digital age will be defined by various court cases to achieve significant victories, as per press release announcement. There will also be a component on education especially to assist legal community to apply the First Amendment to the new technology.

Knight Foundation has been giving many investments including $18 million to the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. The $30 million funds makes up as the largest grant in its history that will also include free press rights support for the Newseum organization in Yale law School.

According to the Columbia Journalism Review, the news is announced at the right time when there is a huge concern in digital technology that occurs in campuses, courtrooms and many other institutions. Jennifer Preston from Knight Foundation explains that the Columbia University First Amendment center will enable permanent advocate that influences free expression in the future.

The First Amendment center still has no director on board and the officials confirm if the position is filled, the project will run soon. Reached for comment, Lee Bolinger, First Amendment scholar, said that the institute will support legal matters because tradition media may not be able to tackle them down when defending a case.

Furthermore, Bolinger also explains that the institute is hoped to be the agent of change in the press institutions, in term of resources and ethos.

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