Constitution Day Events, Sept. 16 & 17

Join us in commemorating the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787:

Sign Your Constitution. Sign an oversized copy of the Constitution on the Pedestrian Walkway, south side of Hodges Library, Wednesday, Sept. 16. Begins at 11:00 a.m. (Rain location: outside Starbucks, 2nd floor, Hodges Library)

“What’s Fair on the Air?” — An interactive Constitution Day Forum, 4:00 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 17, Hodges Library, 1st floor galleria.

    Should broadcasters be required to air contrasting views on controversial issues of public interest? Would reinstating the Fairness Doctrine raise the level of public discourse? Or foster government control of content on the airwaves?

    Introduced originally in 1949 and more formally adopted in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the Fairness Doctrine required broadcast stations to devote airtime to different sides of controversial issues. Gradually repealed over the ‘80s, there has been conversation among many (specifically) Democratic leaders (such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid) about its resurrection. While President Obama officially does not support the Doctrine, this issue seems to come up every few years. However, as recently as this year, a “Broadcaster Freedom Act” was proposed and passed to block the reinstatement of the Doctrine. How does this impact the freedom of speech? Does a democracy need to ensure that mass media communicates all sides of an argument?

    Participants are invited to explore this idea with each other. Community members, students, faculty, and staff are all invited to engage in this topic with the guidance of several invited faculty members. The faculty members are meant to jump-start the conversation, while audience members are meant to keep it going.

    Panel members include:
    Barbara Moore, College of Communications and Information
    Matt Shafer Powell, WUOT
    Otis Stephens, College of Law

Events are sponsored by the Baker Center for Public Policy and the UT Libraries.

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