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Distinguished Scholars Discuss the Boundaries of Free Speech and Press

Free Speech

The Pepperdine Law Review will present the symposium "Free Speech and Press in the Modern Age: Can 20th Century Theory Bear the Weight of 21st Century Demands?" on Friday, Apr. 4, from 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the School of Law. The symposium will bring together a wide range of public intellectuals to discuss the development of free speech law in the 20th century in relation to the major challenges of our modern age.

Listen to an interview with Professor Barry McDonald, faculty advisor to the Pepperdine Law Review. In it he discusses the important of the free speech symposium.

Symposium topics will include extremist/terrorist speech, campaign fundraising and spending, and mass media in the digital age. The opening address, titled "Free Speech in the 21st Century: What We Learned in the 20th Century," will be given by Geoffrey R. Stone, the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago Law School. The Honorable Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the Honorable Kevin J. Martin, chair of the Federal Communications Commission, will also deliver symposium addresses.

Other distinguished speakers include Jack M. Balkin of Yale Law School; Lillian R. BeVier of the University of Virginia School of Law; David D. Hiller, publisher and CEO of the Los Angeles Times; Samuel Issacharoff of New York University School of Law; Lucas A. Powe, Jr., of the University of Texas School of Law; Frederick Schauer of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; Rodney A. Smolla, dean of Washington and Lee University School of Law; Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union; William W. Van Alstyne of William and Mary School of Law, and Eugene Volokh of UCLA School of Lawâ€"in addition to Pepperdine professor Barry P. McDonald and School of Law dean Ken Starr.

Professor McDonald, the symposium facilitator, explains its context. "During the 20th century, the Supreme Court articulated at least three major theories that undergird the freedoms of speech and pressâ€"the maintenance of a marketplace of ideas to elicit truth, the promotion of intelligent self-governance, and the facilitation of individual self-realization," he writes. "These theoretical models have driven the Court's development and application of specific doctrine in various areas of free speech law."

"This conference will examine whether these theoretical models remain valid and compelling bases for the continued development of free speech law in the 21st century," says McDonald.

Questions for consideration include the following: Does a liberal tolerance of extremist speech such as terrorist recruiting propaganda or incitement to religious hatred, particularly via mass distribution platforms like the Internet, continue to be warranted? In the age of mass digital communication technologies, are the "marketplace" and democratic deliberation models obsolete? What free speech model should drive the structure of mass media regulation in the digital age? These questions will be explored through addresses and panel discussions.

For more information or to register, see the symposium Web site or contact Margaret Barfield at (310) 506-4653.