December 9, 2019: Rethinking Libel Law in a New Era of Journalism


The New York State Bar Association’s Task Force on Free Expression in the Digital Age will host a special event, “Rethinking Libel Law in a New Era of Journalism” on Tuesday, Dec. 10 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the New York State Bar Association headquarters in Albany, NY.

The event is free, open to the public, and will be livestreamed.

The First Amendment has long provided broad protection to publishers and broadcasters against libel suits and other legal threats. But at a time when local news outlets struggle financially and small digital publishers play a larger role in providing information to local communities, is it time to broaden those protections even further? Are the threats of litigation chilling important speech? Would changing libel laws make a difference in the kind of local journalism that gets done?

Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post, one of the nation's foremost commentators on journalism and press freedom, will discuss those issues in a conversation with media lawyer Joseph Finnerty of Finnerty Osterreicher & Abdulla. A panel of legal experts and journalists will then join the discussion to provide their views on how legal threats affect coverage and whether legal reform is needed.  

Also taking part in the roundtable discussion are: Cynthia Arato, partner, Shapiro Arato Bach and co-chair of the task force; Sandra S. Baron, resident fellow, Yale Law School; David Donovan, president & executive director, New York State Broadcasters Association; Rex Smith, editor, Albany Times Union;  and Megan Meier, partner, Clare Locke. 

Click here to register for the event.

Task Force on Free Expression in the Digital Age
Tuesday, Dec. 10 – 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
New York State Bar Association
1 Elk St. 
Albany, NY 12207 


Contact: Christian Nolan
[email protected]


About the Task Force on Free Expression in the Digital Age
NYSBA President Hank Greenberg formed the groundbreaking Task Force on Free Expression in the Digital Age to examine the crisis of local journalism in the digital age and to make recommendations on how New York state, the legal and business sectors can protect local news and define the future of local media in not only New York but throughout the country. 

About the New York State Bar Association
The New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, NYSBA has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.