The Center for First Amendment Studies continues to remain active in the National Communication Association (NCA). The Center’s Director, Dr. Kevin Johnson, was recently elected to be Editor of NCA’s First Amendment Studies Journal. As Editor, Dr. Johnson hopes to expand the journal’s offerings to welcome scholarship on all areas that concern the core principles (rather than a solely legal approach) of the First Amendment in national and international contexts. He will work diligently to include work extending beyond the legal to also include a wide variety of methodological perspectives (including rhetorical, quantitative, critical, cultural, qualitative, mixed, historical, pedagogical, legal, etc.).
NCA recently shared news of the impact on its membership regarding the suppression of the core principles of the First Amendment. For example, Jolovan Wham is a veteran Singapore activist who is a collaborator with NCA member Dr. Mohan Dutta of the National University of Singapore. In December, 2017, Jolovan Wham was jailed on the charge of violating Singapore’s Public Order Act, under which “even one person can be considered an ‘illegal assembly.’” NCA also noted that, “in the aftermath of a coup attempt in 2017, Turkey’s government has continued to target scholars, teachers, reporters, and activists deemed unfriendly to President Erdogan’s regime, leaving thousands of our colleagues unemployed, and some of them arrested.” The Center remains committed to supporting the National Communication Association in its “unwavering support for free speech.”
The Center is also proud to have presented research at the 2017 convention of NCA in Dallas, TX. Notably, former Jack Williams Fellow Alvin Primack (now a Ph.D. student at the University of Pittsburgh) earned the Top Student Paper Award in the Freedom of Expression Division for his research paper entitled, “Youth Sexting, Child Pornography Law, and the First Amendment: Toward an Alternative Media Production and Distribution Model for Evaluating Youth Sexual Expression.” The Center’s Director of Community Outreach and Development, Anthony Cuomo, was on a competitively accepted panel on campus free speech issues. Though he was unable to attend, the Center shared some of its research on academic freedom and campus hate speech. The Center also organized a panel involving faculty experts from around the country to talk about a “year in review” of current First Amendment issues.
Finally, Dr. Johnson became the Chair of the Freedom of Expression Division. If you have ideas and/or would like to be a member of the Freedom of Expression Division of NCA, please contact the Center, and he would be happy to get you involved.