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Free Speech Week tackles censorship

Belmont’s department of communication studies, in conjunction with Lambda Pi Eta, is sponsoring Free Speech Week Oct. 20 – Oct. 22.

Free Speech Week is actually a national event of the National Communication Association. This year the theme is Censorship in the 21st Century. According to Pamela Parry, associate professor of communication studies, it’s something that the communications department decided to implement locally.

“The First Amendment is one of the things that makes our nation great, and how wonderful it is to take a week simply to celebrate our right to think and to speak as we see fit without fear of retribution,” Parry said.

The week includes 3 events, 2 of which are open to the public.

The Pentagon Papers: How the Constitution Triumphs Over Governmental Censorship – 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 20, Beaman A&B – The Pentagon Papers, a 2003 movie staring James Spader,  chronicles the only time in U.S. history that the government prevented a newspaper from publishing. Pizza will be provided and discussion will follow the viewing of the movie.

Fighting for Freedom in an Age of Fear – 10 a.m., Friday, Oct. 22, Massey Boardroom – Oliver “Buzz” Thomas, one of the foremost First Amendment scholars and attorneys in the country, will deliver the keynote address. According to Parry, Thomas has “worked on First Amendment issues in the nation’s capital, where he was a member of the Supreme Court bar.”

The third event, which is invitation only, is at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 21. It is a banquet to honor Charles Overby, the founding chair of the Associated Baptist Press, as well as other founding members.

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