Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open: A Free Press for a New Century

Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open: A Free Press for a New Century


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Lee Bollinger is one of our foremost experts on the First Amendment--both an erudite scholar and elegant advocate. In this sweeping account, he explores the troubled history of a free press in America and looks toward the challenges ahead.

The first amendment guaranteed freedom of the press in seemingly clear terms. However, over the course of American history, Bollinger notes, the idea of press freedom has evolved, in response to social, political, technological, and legal changes. It was not until the twentieth century that freedom of the press came to be understood as guaranteeing an "uninhibited, robust and wide-open" public discourse. But even during the twentieth century, government continually tried to erect barriers: the sedition laws of World War One, the use of libel law, the Pentagon Papers case, and efforts to limit press access to information.

Bollinger utilizes this history to explore the meaning of freedom of the press in our globalized, internet-dominated era. As he shows, we have now entered uncharted territory. What does press freedom mean when our news outlets can instantaneously disseminate information throughout the world? When foreign media have immediate access to the American market? Bollinger stresses that even though the law will surely evolve in the coming years, we must maintain our commitment to a press that is "uninhibited, robust, and wide-open," not only in America but everywhere. Given the new ability of foreign media to reach the United States via the Internet and vice versa, it is in America's national interest for press freedoms to expand overseas. While protecting the freedom of the press at home remains a crucial task, the next challenge is to help create a global public forum suitable for an increasingly interconnected world. Part of Oxford's landmark Inalienable Rights series, this book will set the agenda for how we think about the press in the twenty-first century.


Communications Law | Constitutional Law | Law




Oxford University Press


New York, NY


"Lee Bollinger makes a powerful case for the press as 'our scout and our explorer' in a global society. His book celebrates the freedom protected by the First Amendment in this country but goes beyond that to consider how the press can survive to do its job, here and in the world. It is a work of vision and provocation."
Anthony Lewis, author of Freedom for the Thought that we Hate

"At a moment of existential threat to the role and even existence of the American press, Lee Bollinger has written a lucid and masterful account of the press and the First Amendment in the 21st century. Sweeping well beyond legal analysis, Bollinger's focus on the need to overcome barriers to newsgathering within the United States and abroad makes this book an indispensable contribution to how to save the press and how to make the press worth saving."
Floyd Abrams, author of Speaking Freely

"In this probing analysis of the evolution of the meaning and practice of 'freedom of the press' in US history, Lee Bollinger proves once again he is a leading thinker of the First Amendment. I have known Lee for over 30 years: I admire him, read him and quote him (usually with attribution); and I certainly recommend this book."
John Sexton, President, New York University

"... Uninhibited, Robust and Wide-Open offers its readers a wonderful opportunity to test their own thinking in such matters and decide for themselves."
Concurring Opinions

"The volume, Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open: A Free Press for a New Century, is concise in format yet expansive in ideas ... Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open is part of Oxford University Press's Inalienable Rights series ... Lee Bollinger provides a worthy addition to this group, and his contribution packs quite a punch in just a slim volume. The book is gracefully written and filled with impeccable legal analysis, thus making for quite an enjoyable and stimulating read. Readers will take away from it renewed understandings of First Amendment freedoms and the responsibilities of the media. The book is highly recommended for public and academic law libraries, as well as general academic libraries."
Law Library Journal


Also available as an eBook through the Columbia University Libraries.

Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open: A Free Press for a New Century

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