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WVU Constitution Day program September 18 will address freedom of the press

West Virginia University’s annual observance of Constitution Day this year will focus on the role of a free press in a democratic society.

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist will join WVU communications, journalism and law professors to address the erosion of the First Amendment, fake news, and why a free press is necessary for a strong democracy.

“Freedom of the Press: Constitutionally Enshrined Guardians of Democracy” takes place September 18 at 4 p.m. in the Event Hall at the WVU College of Law.

Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

The panelists are Eric Eyre, statehouse reporter for the Charleston Gazette-Mail; Robert Bastress, professor of Law; Alison Bass, assistant professor of journalism; and Elizabeth Cohen, assistant professor of communication studies. Law professor John Taylor will serve as moderator.

WVU’s Constitution Day 2017 is hosted by the College of Law, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and the Reed College of Media with support from the student chapter of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy.

Former West Virginia senator Robert Byrd (1917-2010) sponsored the legislation that established Constitution Day in 2004. The law requires that all publicly funded educational institutions provide special programming on or near that day every year.

Constitution Day is celebrated in commemoration of the adoption of the United States Constitution. It is typically celebrated on September 17, the anniversary of the 1787 Constitutional Convention in which delegates officially signed the document in Philadelphia.