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Prominent First Amendment Advocates Participate in Cornerstone Project Symposium in Washington, D.C.

FOR RELEASE: November 21, 2001

Contact: Richard T. Kaplar
The Media Institute


Washington, November 21, 2001 – Approximately 125 policymakers, scholars, journalists, association members, and others from around the country gathered at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Friday, November 16, for a Cornerstone Project symposium entitled "The First Amendment: New Challenges for a Changed World."

The symposium opened with a breakfast speech by noted First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams, who spoke about the challenge to civil liberties amidst the current concern over national security.

The breakfast was followed by two panel discussions that included a number of notable First Amendment experts. The opening discussion dealt with how technology has affected the First Amendment and what kind of impact it will have in the post-attack environment. The second panel took a closer look at how First Amendment rights have been affected since September with regard to speech diversity.

The symposium concluded with a luncheon that featured a colloquy between Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell and Media Institute president Patrick Maines. Powell praised the media for being extraordinarily responsible in their coverage of the war on terrorism.

"These, some of the most trying security threats in the history of the republic, still don't begin to justify in the minds of anyone in a position of responsibility the kind of clampdown you might experience even in fairly developed countries around the world," Powell said. "It is not on the table. It is an unacceptable set of options."

The Cornerstone Project is a public awareness and education program that celebrates freedom of speech and of the press. The Cornerstone Project draws on the resources of the Cornerstone Advisory Board, comprised of seven financial supporters representing a wide variety of media interests, and the Advisory Council, which includes 11 media, journalism, and free speech organizations. The project was created by The Media Institute, one of the nation's leading think tanks specializing in communications policy and First Amendment issues.

To view the complete transcripts of Floyd Abrams' speech and Chairman Powell's dialogue with Patrick Maines, event photos, and other information about the symposium, visit The Cornerstone Project website at