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Bar News - July 19, 2017


Morning Mail: Great Free Press Program by NH Supreme Court Society

The New Hampshire Supreme Court Society on June 20 presented an important and timely program titled “Freedom of the Press: New Challenges in an Era of Distrust and Fake News” at UNH School of Law. I attended the program (chaired by my colleague, Anthony Galdieri) and was glad I did. Both the content and presentation were first-rate.

Justice James Bassett of the New Hampshire Supreme Court delivered opening comments. Bill Chapman of Orr & Reno and Joe Steinfield of Prince Lobel Tye, legal heavyweights in First Amendment law, presented on the history of the Free Press Clause. Joe McQuaid (publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader) led a panel on modern challenges facing the press on which Chapman and Steinfield participated. Former AP reporter David Tirrell-Wysocki moderated a panel featuring the perspectives and insights of New Hampshire journalists Josh Rogers (NHPR), Adam Sexton (WMUR), and Allie Morris (Concord Monitor).

Professor Leah Plunkett of UNH School of Law and Professor Geanne Belton of City University of New York’s Baruch College presented a panel on “digital citizenship” and how states and other entities are attempting to educate young adults about “fake news” and other informational quality challenges.

The program went beyond a simple legal review. It highlighted the legal difficulties and practical challenges facing the free press today, including the intractable dilemma of what to do about “fake news.”

One of the Society’s missions is to increase civic awareness about important constitutional issues, and this program hit the mark. I highly recommend checking the society’s website, www.nhsupremecourtsociety.org, to learn more about its mission, programs and events.

W. Daniel Deane
Manchester, NH

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