On October 8, 2020 the First Amendment Clinic delivered its third media law training to collegiate journalists at universities across Georgia.

In line with the Clinic’s mission to educate the public about their speech and press rights, the Clinic presented to the Cluster newspaper staff at Mercer University, the Grady Newsource staff at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications, and to students and faculty in the Communications Department at East Georgia State College. These presentations primed journalists on topics spanning defamation, privacy, copyright fair use, and access rights under Georgia’s Open Meetings and Open Records Acts.

The Clinic also serves as a resource for scholastic and independent journalists who encounter resistance to open government in the course of their news gathering, including refusals to comply with Georgia’s Open Meetings and Open Records Acts.

For example, the Clinic successfully opposed efforts by Columbus Water Works, a public utility company, to hide from public view the money it paid to private counsel to fight compliance with clean water regulations.  Read related article by Jill Nolan for the Georgia Recorder.

This initiative has been staffed by law students Anish Patel (3L) and Davis Wright (2L), along with Clinic Fellow Samantha Hamilton.

An image of an open newspaper held up by two women, one of which is pointing to a headline.

The Issue

Media Law

The First Amendment guarantees a free press, meaning journalists are able to express any opinions they want about the government, even criticisms. However, journalists are often hindered in their ability to gather and publish news through the threat of lawsuits, subpoenas, and criminal prosecution. Read more about our support for student and professional journalists here.

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