The Tully Center for Free Speech

Free Speech Zone

Chet Kanojia Tully Center for Free Speech

Tully Center Hosts Tech Pioneer Chet Kanojia

The Tully Center and Newhouse School hosted Aereo founder and president, Chet Kanojia, last week in the Hergehan Auditorium for a conversation:  “Aereo: the Future was Then — a discussion with media tech pioneer Chet Kanojia.”  Aereo was a groundbreaking online television platform that enabled consumers to record and watch live HD broadcast television on […]

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License Plates and Free Speech (Not)

June 22, 2015

The Supreme Court established that motor vehicle license plates are not a public forum for free speech. In Walker v. Texas Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Supreme Court’s majority opinion, released Thursday, says that license plates are government property and the government can dictate what messages are conveyed on that property. This case […]

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The Whistleblower, the Press and the Truth

March 30, 2015

April 1, 2015, 7:00pm to 9:00pm JOYCE HERGENHAN AUDITORIUM, NEWHOUSE 3 Presented by Tully Center for Free Speech Over the past several years, the American media have sharply increased their coverage of scandals that have been brought to light by whistleblowers, including NSA spying, banking fraud, contaminated food and nuclear safety risks. The stakes for […]

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Event: How the Media Covers High Profile Criminal Cases: Do the Facts Really Matter?

February 16, 2015

Please join us for the second lecture this semester for the Law, Politics and the Media Speaker Series. William J. Fitzpatrick District Attorney, Onondaga County Wednesday, February 18, 4:00 p.m. Syracuse University College of Law Dineen Hall, Sonkin Seminar Room 342 Mr. Fitzpatrick has served as Onondaga County District Attorney since 1992, and has been […]

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Event: Squaring the Right of Publicity with the First Amendment

January 26, 2015

Please join us for the first lecture this semester the Law, Politics and the Media Speaker Series. Paul M. Smith Partner, Jenner & Block Wednesday, January 28, 4:00 p.m. Syracuse University College of Law Dineen Hall, Sonkin Seminar Room 342 Mr. Smith has had an active Supreme Court practice for three decades, including oral arguments […]

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The Year in Free Speech: 2014

December 31, 2014

Free speech issues became part of both the national and international dialogue in 2014.  From the Michael Brown shooting protests in Ferguson, Missouri, to crackdowns on journalists covering those protests to the murder and imprisonment of journalists around the world, many of the issues usually isolated to those expressing their rights came to the forefront […]

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Tough Questions from Moscow

November 30, 2014

The Moscow Readings Conference drew scholars from all over the world – China, Hungary, Germany, Finland, Belgium, Austria and Australia.  I was one of two American professors at the conference at Lomonosov Moscow State University, one of Russia’s biggest universities and perhaps the most prestigious journalism school in the country. The university, founded in 1755, […]

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Harassing the Press in Missouri

August 14, 2014

Recent police action in Missouri is an affront to journalists and the First Amendment. Reporters for The Washington Post and The Huffington Post, who were covering the shooting of a teenager and subsequent civil unrest and riots in Ferguson, Missouri, were arrested and otherwise harassed by local police. This “side spectacle” shows that during tragedies […]

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Decision: Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus

June 16, 2014

Two political action groups challenging an Ohio law that imposes criminal sanctions for false political campaign statements have legal standing to challenge that law, the United States Supreme Court ruled Monday. Writing for the court, Justice Clarence Thomas believed that the groups had sufficient fear of injury to merit the declaratory action filed in federal […]

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First Amendment Showers at the Supreme Court

April 22, 2014

The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday in two cases that have serious First Amendment implications: one with implications as old as time and politics and the other as modern as the technology involved. First Amendment cases do not dominate the 80 or so cases the court takes every year. Two being argued […]

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Sunshine Week

March 21, 2014

This is Sunshine Week, a week dedicated to shining light on public information and the workings of government.  An homage to Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’s famous statement that sunshine is the best disinfectant, press rights groups, open government advocates and regular citizens have been marking this week since 2005. Initially, the mid-March celebration, if […]

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Reporting Olympics for non-existent agency

February 7, 2014

With many eyes on Sochi Winter Olympics, Russia continues a free speech crackdown. The Olympics starting today in Sochi will be covered by 2 800 journalists. The number includes a few dozens of Russian sports reporters from RIA Novosti, whose future after the Olympics is very uncertain. The biggest Russian news agency RIA Novosti got “liquefied” […]

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Duck and Roll

December 23, 2013

Another “celebrity” has put his foot in his mouth and is being punished for saying something that some people find offensive.  Phil Robertson, one of the guys from the “Duck Dynasty” show, made some homophobic comments in an interview and it has totally blown up. Just to spread the wealth, he followed it up with […]

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American graffiti

December 11, 2013

The irony was inescapable:  graffiti scrawled on a wall just below the First Amendment.  The message, a critical jab at the NewhouseSchool and SyracuseUniversity, was one of roughly a half-dozen tags found across campus early Monday morning. “#1 in communications, last in free speech” was spray painted in bright orange on the western wall of […]

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A Constitution Day Plea against NSA Surveillance

September 17, 2013

Ryan J. Suto is a Law and Public Diplomacy graduate of Syracuse University. He is currently volunteering for Restore the Fourth in Washington DC. He contributed this piece to share his thoughts on NSA surveillance.  Today is Constitution Day, which marks the 226th anniversary of the ratification of the document which forms the legal outline of […]

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Supporting the Liberian Journalist

September 2, 2013

Liberian journalist Rodney Sieh was sent to jail last week in Monrovia.  He was essentially imprisoned because of the stories he published in his newspaper, FrontPage Africa.  A court order also shut down the newspaper. Rodney’s case may be on the other side of the globe, far removed from our cozy world in Syracuse and […]

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Pranks and Errors

July 18, 2013

The airplane crash dominated the news for a whole weekend a few weeks ago until the next big news broke.  Just as the story of the dramatic Asiana Airlines crash began to fade from the public’s attention, a television report catapulted it back into the news cycle. When a San Francisco-area television station reported, or […]

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Hustler v. Falwell: 25 Years of Protected Satire

February 28, 2013

The landmark Supreme Court case Hustler v. Falwell turned 25 this week. When a Supreme Court precedent reaches this age, its legacy is either firmly developed or lost to the history books. Hustler v. Falwell’s scope continues to grow and the precedent helps not only to clarify important First Amendment principles, but to protect them […]

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Freedom of Information Challenge

February 19, 2013

The Supreme Court is poised to hear arguments Wednesday in a challenge to a state’s freedom of information law, which bars out-of-state citizens from obtaining public records within the state. The case, McBurney v. Young, is a challenge to Virginia’s freedom of information law.  The petitioners are: Mark McBurney, a former Virginia resident who now […]

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Free Speech Year in Review: 2012

December 31, 2012

There was a lot of free speech going on this past year and some of it was even protected.  The multi-billion dollar election was the first presidential election to test the Citizens United case and there was plenty of money spent on campaigns and their advertisements.  That, the Supreme Court has said, is protected by […]

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The Photo Controversy and the First Amendment

December 12, 2012

The independence of the American press is again being called into question thanks to the gripping photograph published on the front page of The New York Post  last week. The dramatic image of a man clinging to a New York City subway platform, struggling to lift himself from the tracks and the inevitable path of […]

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Speech, Films and Broccoli

October 3, 2012

Here in the United States, we cherish the right to dissent, to criticize our leaders, even to insult them. The First Amendment protects this and much more.  The recent explosion of anti-American vitriol, culminating in riots all over the world, shows not only how different our democratic values are from other societies, but how we […]

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Costly Cursing

September 5, 2012

A four-letter word got another high school student in trouble, and it was not even one of the “bad” words.  After a high school valedictorian in Oklahoma used the well-worn question “How the hell do I know?” in a speech, school officials withheld her diploma. In her remarks at graduation, Kaitlin Nootbaar dropped the “offensive” […]

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Empowering Independent Media and Press Freedom

May 3, 2012

The First Amendment not only affords journalists some protections to report and investigate news, tell stories and publish without oppressive government interference, but it also ostensibly grants citizens access to information unfiltered by the government. There are many places around the world where citizens are deprived of a free press and independent media. Though the […]

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Cyberspeech and the Schoolhouse Gate

March 19, 2012

When shots rang out at Chardon High School outside Cleveland, Ohio, last month those scrambling for information turned to Twitter where students trapped in the locked-down school were breaking the story as it was unfolding. “Shots in the school. What the heck. This is messed up” tweeted senior Seanna Sicher while another student with the […]

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Lies, Lies and Questionable Lies

February 22, 2012

The lies Xavier Alvarez propagated were extensive and far-reaching. He claimed to be a professional hockey player, that he was married to a Mexican starlet, that he had a role in rescuing an American ambassador from the Iranian hostage crisis and that he served heroically as a U.S. Marine and had been awarded numerous military […]

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Occupy Surveillance

February 20, 2012

In the early morning hours of May 31, 2011, as Memorial Day revelers stumbled out of clubs and bars on Miami’s South Beach, Miami Beach police were surrounding an idling car on busy Collins Avenue, guns drawn. As shots rang out Narces Benoit, a bystander who happened to be in the vicinity, did what many […]

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The First Amendment and the Primary

January 31, 2012

In the week preceding the highly anticipated New Hampshire presidential primary, the First Amendment was in full application. Accompanying a group of political reporting students covering the primary for newspapers and radio stations, I had the opportunity to spend a week in New Hampshire watching the Republican candidates slug it out.  Attending several campaign events […]

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What Wikileaks and SOPA Have In Common

January 19, 2012

Last year, as U.S. government officials publicly scrambled to mitigate the damage (mostly to egos) caused by the leak of thousands of military documents and diplomatic cables obtained by Wikileaks, privately a bi-partisan effort was underway to permanently silence the website. The objective: to send a stern and unmistakable warning to potential copycats – “leak […]

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Free Speech Year in Review: 2011

December 28, 2011

Free speech dominated this year.  Despotic regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya were overturned after protestors filled the streets and public squares, speaking out for change.  Fueled by social media, the so-called “Arab Spring” not only took down strongmen dictators, but also inspired Americans to get out and protest. The Occupy Wall Street movement, which was […]

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The Picket That Never Was… But Still a Speech

December 6, 2011

Though the Westboro Baptist Church never showed Friday night at Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome, all was not lost. The much-anticipated appearance by members of the controversial church known for inflammatory messages prompted an animated, vocal, even festive counter protest, primarily by Syracuse University students. Their chants could be heard down Irving Avenue and around the […]

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Cyberbullying: Fighting back with the First Amendment

November 17, 2011

On September 26th the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), a caucus comprised of four Democratic members of the New York State Senate, released a paper titled “Cyberbullying: A Report on Bullying for the Digital Age.” Responding to growing concern over a string of youth suicides in which social media and the Internet played a role, the […]

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Banned Book Week and Freedom of Thought

September 28, 2011

Central New York is not in the “Ring of Fire” where earthquakes are common. But when an earthquake hit Virginia in August, buildings here shook pretty substantially, too.  The analysts said: it’s rare, but it sometimes happens. The same can be said for book challenge controversies in our schools and public libraries. Book censorship locally […]

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Speech in public places

September 13, 2011

James Deferio has a message he wants to disseminate.  He wants to share his beliefs on college campuses.  When the State University of New York at Albany demanded he apply for a revocable permit 30 days in advance, make a series of guarantees and pony up $50 for a processing fee as well as rental […]

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