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Freedom of Expression

Why we must champion the First Amendment in the digital age

At Knight Foundation, our belief in freedom of expression is one of our core values and a longstanding pillar of our work. But free expression faces new challenges in the digital age: news organizations, longstanding champions of First Amendment issues that reverberate beyond media, say lower traditional revenues are restricting their ability to pursue legal cases. New media platforms are sparking debate about the regulation of speech. And on college and high school campuses and in cities across the United States, protests are sparking questions about the right to assemble and when, if ever, the First Amendment should be restricted. Through research, education and support for initiatives such as the Free Speech Project at Georgetown University and the Knight First Amendment Institute in collaboration with Columbia University, we're helping to defend these basic rights.

By Eric Newton, Arizona State University

Knight Foundation announced its largest journalism grant ever in creating the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. The institute will seek to understand and explain what First Amendment law is and should be in the digital age, but more than that, it will go to court to preserve and expand free expression.

Why? Because America sorely needs new First Amendment champions. Half the news leaders recently polled in a Knight-funded survey said the news industry is no longer prepared to defend the First Amendment. Attacks on our freedoms are escalating, and changing technology will bring new waves of cases. (Read more)




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