Stephen Wolgast on 'Free Speech in times of Crisis'

Hosted by Harper Public Library in Harper, Kansas

“Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” 

With these simple words in the First Amendment, U.S. citizens are granted an inalienable right to express their opinions, a right that does not dissipate at times when society is under stress and disagreements get heated. Even when we do not agree with someone’s language, we believe in the speaker’s right to utter it — and that if we disagree with someone’s speech, the best response is more speech.

History shows us, however, that sometimes people in positions of authority actively work to close off public discussion. This presentation will look at the reasons free speech is protected and provide current examples of how people in authority dissuade the public from speaking up. 

Events of today can be connected to William Allen White’s famous editorial, the work of Joseph Pulitzer, and the history of journalism in the United States. 

Presented by Stephen Wolgast who teaches journalism and digital media at Kansas State University and is a former New York Times editor.