President Bollinger on Freedom of Speech and Press


President Bollinger is one of the country’s foremost First Amendment scholars. He speaks and writes frequently about the importance of global free speech to continued social progress. Each fall semester, he teaches “Freedom of Speech and Press” to Columbia undergraduate and graduate students. His most recent book on the subject is Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open: A Free Press for a New Century.

Photo of President Bollinger teaching course on the First Amendment


Can the First Amendment Save Us?

Columbia Journalism Review, October 5, 2017

"Persecution for the expression of opinions seems to me perfectly logical. If you have no doubt of your premises or your power, and want a certain result with all your heart, you naturally express your wishes in law, and sweep away all opposition.” That was written nearly a century ago, in 1919, in a dissenting opinion by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

The No-Censorship Approach to Life

The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 18, 2016 

What’s true for the country is also true for Columbia. We don’t ban speech. We don’t censor speech. But make no mistake: This is no simple, clear-cut, self-evident principle or policy; in fact, far from it.

Defending a Free Press in a Digital Age

TIME, May 17, 2016

A recent poll of leading newspaper editors found that more than half agreed with the statement: “News organizations are no longer prepared to go to court to preserve First Amendment freedoms.” The explanation: news organizations whose business models have been upended by the Internet have less money for litigation.

Americans Only Figured Out Free Speech 50 Years Ago. Here’s How the World Can Follow Our Lead.

The Washington Post, February 12, 2015

We have been negotiating between the new and the old, the foreign and the familiar, tolerance and censorship forever. But digital communications and global commerce are remaking the world: Last year, there were more than 1 billion international travelers.

World Leaders Forum Abdullah Gul


Remarks at the 2018 Pulitzer Prize Lunch

May 30, 2018

The Pulitzers are always uniquely important, but I believe this year will stand out in the now century-long history of the Prizes as among the most important.  This is not only because of the new and wider reach of the Prizes into realms where creative genius resides, such as we do today with music, but also because we are living in an era that demands of us a new understanding of and confrontation with the abuses of power.

Remarks at the 78th Annual Maria Moors Cabot Prizes

October 18, 2016

This is a very moving and special night. Of all the evenings and awards and events that we have I find this one unbelievably compelling...We all admire the awardees, and it is a great privilege for us to extend these awards, and we're grateful to the Cabot family for endowing this tradition.

"Journalism After Snowden" Panel Event

January 30, 2014

If you’re interested and care about the US Constitution and freedom of speech and press protected by the First Amendment...then tonight is your night.

“Fear of serious injury alone cannot justify oppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.”

Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis in Whitney v. California