NEW YORK – Student journalists play an essential role in their schools by covering complex and, at times, controversial issues that aim to broaden interest in contemporary issues among their peers and community members. The National Coalition Against Censorship’s (NCAC) Student Advocates for Speech (SAS) project and the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) will host Fighting for Press Freedom: How to be an Advocate for Student Journalism, a free online discussion from 8 p.m. – 9:15 p.m. ET on February 21, 2023. This national event comes when student-run newspapers face ongoing editorial censorship by school administrators. Students, parents, and educators are welcome to register.
Fighting for Press Freedom: How to be an Advocate for Student Journalism will be held in anticipation of SPLC’s Student Press Freedom Day, a national event on Feb. 23. It will feature teens actively fighting press censorship in their high schools and student activists currently advocating for New Voices laws, which protect student press freedom and prevent retaliation against advisers who stand up for student rights. Rachel Oswald, a foreign policy reporter for CQ Roll Call, will join the conversation as a keynote speaker to discuss press freedom under threat in the U.S. and worldwide and offer strategies to combat it.
“NCAC is pleased that Student Advocates for Speech participants are participating with other youth free speech advocates,” said NCAC Executive Director Christopher Finan. “We also are delighted that Rachel Oswald will join us for this timely conversation on the value of press freedoms and student journalists’ invaluable role in protecting our democracy.”
Oswald is a three-time Fellow of the Pulitzer Center and a past fellow of the International Reporting Project, the Japan Foreign Press Center, and the National Endowment for Democracy. She also serves as the chair of the National Press Club’s Press Freedom Committee.
“Students should be allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights and free to tell important stories that impact their lives,” said SPLC Executive Director Hadar Harris. “Student press freedom laws and policies ensure student journalists can practice bold investigative and watchdog journalism — calling attention to serious problems affecting their classmates and creating an opportunity to improve their schools.
Student Advocates for Speech is a project of NCAC’s Youth Free Expression Program, empowering the next generation of leaders to advocate for freedom of expression as both a fundamental human right as the keystone of democracy and to promote the essential principles of free expression. Student Advocates for Speech leaders create and lead free speech clubs in their high schools. Additional information regarding SAS and NCAC youth programs is available at ncac.org/YFEP.
About National Coalition Against Censorship
Since its inception in 1974, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) has been a first responder in protecting freedom of expression, a fundamental human right, and a keystone of democracy. Representing 59 trusted education, publishing, and arts organizations, NCAC works with people fighting censorship at the local level. It encourages and facilitates dialogue between diverse voices and perspectives, including those that have historically been silenced.
About Student Press Law Center
Since 1974, the Student Press Law Center has worked to support, promote, and defend the First Amendment and freedom of expression rights of student journalists at the high school and college level and the advisers who support them. The SPLC is an independent, non-profit 501c(3) organization based in Washington, D.C.