March 9 marks the 50th anniversary of the First Amendment ruling New York Times Co. v Sullivan in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, speech criticizing political figures cannot be censored. University of South Carolina law professor Jay Bender is an expert on the First Amendment and freedom of speech issues. Bender, the Reid H. Montgomery Freedom of Information Chair, has represented the South Carolina Press Association and the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, as well as many of the associations’ member media organizations. He has written two books on South Carolina media law and numerous articles on free press and open government issues. Regarding New York Times Co. v Sullivan, Bender says the decision “was one of the more important decisions of the 20th Century. The real winner was democracy.”

To interview Bender about the historic decision, contact Peggy Binette at 803-777-7704 and [email protected]