Community Events

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.


Talking Leaves Books, Hallwalls, riverrun, UB Humanities Institute, Media Law Resource Center Institute, & American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression present

On the Front Lines: State Secrets and Journalist Shield Laws: What Next?

Panel Discussion with Attorneys & Journalists on Constitutional Protections for Journalists & Their Sources

What do Watergate, Tailhook, and Abu Graib have in common? All were major news stories that would not have been reported without the use of confidential sources. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, the First Amendment and its protections have been under increasing attack from both the state and the public. Talking Leaves...Books and Hallwalls, along with riverrun and the UB Humanities Institute and in collaboration with the Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) Institute and American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), have assembled a panel of journalists and lawyers to probe the general question, whither the First Amendment in these turbulent times?
On the Front Lines: State Secrets and Journalist Shield Laws: What Next? will investigate the First Amendment and the USA PATRIOT Act, the history and role of Reporter Shield Laws, the general issue of information privacy, and the impact current and oncoming technologies and economics will have on all of these matters. This event in Hallwalls' Cinema is free and open to the public.
Panelists include James Heaney, investigative reporter for the Buffalo News and author of the blog "Outrages and Insights"; Geoff Kelly, investigative reporter and editor of Artvoice; Jim Milles, Professor of Law at UB Law School, where he teaches primarily in the areas of Internet speech and information privacy; and Joseph M. Finnerty, Hiscock & Barclay, LLP, Media & First Amendment Law, who represents the Buffalo News in First Amendment matters. Mr. Finnerty is the Buffalo representative of the MLRC Institute, a nonprofit educational organization focused on the media and the First Amendment, and one of the principal sponsors of the panel. Jonathon Welch of Talking Leaves...Books will moderate.

As an arts organization which has faced and fought censorship many times in its three decade history, and as a bookstore determined to protect its customers' access to controversial material and to protect their right to privacy as well, Hallwalls and Talking Leaves believe strongly in defending the rights given all citizens by the First Amendment of the Constitution. This panel is one of many efforts both organizations undertake to educate the public on this fundamental issue.

Some publications related to this event:
March, 2009 - 2009