Freedom of Speech and the Press at Columbia

Seth Low Professor of the University Lee C. Bollinger is a distinguished First Amendment scholar whose writings explore the history of freedom of speech in America, the elusive preconditions for a tolerant society, and the challenges and opportunities intrinsic to securing freedom of expression in the modern world.  Under his leadership, a rich mix of initiatives engaging these issues has flowered at Columbia:  

A close up view of the journalism building outside Columbia's Main Gate, with a statue in the background and the word "journalism" inscribed on the building in the foreground.

The Knight First Amendment Institute
Working to preserve and expand First Amendment rights in the digital age through research and education, the Institute also supports litigation in favor of protecting freedom of expression and the press.

Tow Center for Digital Journalism
In addition to developing digital journalism resources for both students of the school and the community at large, the Center is involved in producing new research related to the practice of digital journalism.

Global Freedom of Expression
Bringing together international experts and activists with the University’s faculty and students, this project seeks to survey, document, and strengthen free expression. It is led by executive director Dr. Agnès Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial summary or arbitrary Executions and former director of the organization ARTICLE 19.

Brown Institute for Media Innovation 
A collaboration between Columbia and Stanford University, the Institute's mission is to sponsor thinking, building and speculating on how stories are discovered and told in a networked, digitized world.

Columbia Global Reports
A publishing imprint that produces new, ambitious works of journalism and analysis a year, each on a different underreported story in the world, the reports present stories that matter on a wide range of political, financial, scientific, and cultural topics.

Columbia ​Journalism Review
A watchdog and a friend of the press in all its forms, its mission is to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society. It offers a deliberative mix of reporting, analysis, criticism, and commentary in print and online and ​provides a vital presence in the ongoing conversation about the media​.​ ​

“Censorship anywhere is censorship everywhere. It is important that a university like Columbia, which has a great international tradition in a great global city, dedicate itself to working on these issues.” - Lee C. Bollinger


The University bestows a number of prizes for journalistic excellence and for protecting the freedoms of speech and press.

Pulitzer prize medal
Pulitzer Prizes

Among the most prestigious awards for journalism and the arts in the United States, the prizes honor achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition.

Statue of Thomas Jefferson outside Pulitzer Hall, the School of Journalism
Photo by Guido Verona
Columbia Journalism Prizes

The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism recognizes and honors excellence in journalism with several prestigious awards. 

Global Freedom of Expression Prizes

Established to recognize judicial decisions and legal representation around the world that strengthen freedom of expression by promoting international legal norms.