Trinity to host free speech conference alongside Columbia University

The event will address freedom of speech and Irish defamation laws

Photo by Joe McCallion

Trinity will join with Columbia University and Independent News and Media (INM) to host the opening event of the “Fear, Factions and Fake News” symposium. The two-day event, entitled “Freedom of Speech: Where journalism and the law collide at the boundary of 21st century debate”, will take place on November 6 and 7.

The conference will cover the importance of freedom of speech, the crippling costs of defamation cases on media outlets, and the challenges of public debate.

A distinguished panel of speakers, including professors from both Trinity and Columbia, will discuss these issues and more. This will be accompanied by workshops addressing issues such as right-wing nationalism and immigration the following day.

The debate is part of the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute’s “Behind the Headlines” series of discussions, which aims to “provide a forum that deepens understanding, combats simplification and polarisation, and thus creates a space for informed and respectful public discourse”.

“Fear, Factions and Fake News” was organized by the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute, in conjunction with the Columbia University Society of Fellows and the Heyman Centre for the Humanities.

The conference will conclude with two additional days of events on November 9 and 10 at the Heyman Centre for Humanities in Columbia. Discussions range from “Professional Journalism, Polarization, Post-Truth and Post-Trump” to “Ethnicity, Nationalism and Democratic Futures”. Live streams of these events will be available to audiences at both Trinity and Columbia.

Topics addressed at the symposium include contemporary issues such as immigration, the election of US President Donald J. Trump, and the future of information and the media.

Eoin O'Donnell

Eoin O'Donnell is the current Leader Writer of Trinity News. He is a Senior Sophister History student, and a former Deputy Comment Editor and Deputy Investigations Editor.