Global Freedom of Expression

21 September

Global Webinar on The Freedom to Speak | Part 2: A Case Study Analysis

  • 9:00am-10:30am ET (New York)


The International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP) and Columbia University Global Freedom of Expression present a two-part webinar to critically explore the emerging threats to freedom of expression. Presenters will share views, legal strategies, resources, and practical information on developing compelling arguments to defend freedom of expression and challenge laws that threaten it. Speakers are noted experts in the field and highlight how local advocates around the world may draw from international law and comparative experience to complement and enhance their advocacy. Part 2 focuses on decided cases that have shaped the legal landscape and will be held on 21st September at 13:00 UTC / 09:00 EDT / 14:00 WAT / 15:00 CAT / 16:00 EAT. Don’t miss out! Click here to register


  • Bridget Mafusire, Regional Legal Advisor, Africa, ISLP
  • Hawley Johnson, Associate Director, Global Freedom of Expression, Columbia University
  • Vlada Gurvich, Law Fellow, ISLP


  • Samantha Barbas, Director, Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, School of Law, University at Buffalo
  • Kyu Ho Youm, Jonathan Marshall First Amendment Chair, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon
  • David Schulz, Floyd Abrams Lecturer in Law, Senior Research Scholar in Law, and Director of Media Freedom & Information Access Clinic, Yale Law School; Senior Counsel, Media Practice Group, Ballard Spahr, LLP
  • Mary Fitzgerald, Director of Expression, Open Society Foundation
  • Richard N. Winfield, Co-founder and Chair of the Media Law Working Group, ISLP

This event is co-sponsored by the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP) and Global Freedom of Expression. It was further made possible with the support of UNESCO Multi-Donor Programme on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists (MDP).

9:00 – 9:07 am EDT Introductions and recap of webinar objectives
Bridget Mafusire, ISLP
Speakers: Samantha Barbas, Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, Kyu Ho Youm, University of Oregon, and David Schulz, Yale Law School
9:07 – 9:37 am EDT

Precedent in the Balance: Imagining a world without Sullivan (New York Times v Sullivan, 1964)

  • Samantha Barbas will present her book and the historical evolution and significance of the landmark ruling.
  • Kyu Ho Youm will discuss the extensive research he has done on how courts around the globe have interpreted its principles and what would an overturning of Sullivan mean internationally.
  • David Schulz will present possible defenses based on Sullivan, as well as legal standards and strategies for addressing the problem of falsehoods.
9:37 – 9:47 am EDT Q & A
Moderated by Hawley Johnson, Columbia
Mary Fitzgerald, Open Society Foundation, and Richard Winfield, ISLP
9:47 – 10:17 am EDT Key emerging trends on the threats to free expression and democracy
Moderated by Vlada Gurvich, ISLP
10:17 – 10:27 am EDT Q & A
Moderated by Vlada Gurvich, ISLP
10:27 – 10:30 am EDT Closing Remarks
Bridget Mafusire, ISLP

Bridget Kamanga MafusireModerator: Bridget Mafusire, Regional Legal Advisor, Africa, ISLP

Bridget is ISLP Regional Legal Advisor based in Zimbabwe, where she works on Community Inclusive Development, Media Law, and Impact Investing projects. Prior to joining ISLP in 2018, Bridget was practicing law full time as an Associate at Manokore Attorneys where she was working on public private partnerships and real estate projects. Before joining private practice, Bridget was a legal officer in the Ministry of Industry and Trade in Zimbabwe, she served on the board of Zimbabwe’s national trade promotion agency. Bridget holds a LLM in International Economic law from University of South Africa, Postgraduate Diploma In Trade Policy from Lund University and a law degree from University of Fort Hare in South Africa.

Moderator: Hawley Johnson, Associate Director, Global Freedom of Expression, Columbia University

Dr. Hawley Johnson is the Associate Director of Columbia Global Freedom of Expression. Since 2014 she has managed the development of the Case Law Database which hosts analyses of seminal freedom of expression court rulings from more than 130 countries. Hawley has over twelve years of experience in international media development both academically and professionally, with a focus on Eastern Europe. From 2013-2014 she worked with the award-winning Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project to launch the Investigative Dashboard (ID), a joint effort with Google Ideas offering specialized databases and research tools for journalists in emerging democracies. Previously, as the Associate Director of the Media and Conflict Resolution Program at New York University, she oversaw the implementation of over eight US government sponsored media development programs in eleven countries. In 2012, she completed her Ph.D. in Communications at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Her dissertation – a study of the evolution of media development policies in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia – was grounded in extensive field research in the region. She has a M.A. from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a B.A. in International Affairs from the School of International Service at American University.

Vlada GurvichModerator: Vlada Gurvich, Law Fellow, ISLP

Vlada is a recent Columbia Law School LLM program graduate. Currently, she is finalizing her first Ph.D. in international law at the University of Regensburg, Germany, and continuing her second Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Vlada brings to ISLP her experience in fundraising, as well as her extensive practical knowledge in business and human rights, particularly within global supply chain management.

During her Bachelor’s degree, Vlada specialized in regional studies, focusing on Asian and African countries with a major in Far East Asia. Vlada received her first law degree – a Master’s Degree in International Human Rights Law – at Kazan Federal University in Russia.

At the beginning of her legal career, Vlada worked as a junior corporate law associate at a law firm. She also worked at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, for the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, and at the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute. She is a co-founder of an NGO in Switzerland where she aims to implement the results of her first Ph.D. research in “The role of NGOs in the elimination of child labor in global supply chains in Asia and the Pacific.”

Samantha BarbasSamantha Barbas, Director, Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, School of Law, University at Buffalo

Samantha Barbas is the director of The Baldy Center, effective Summer 2019. Her work focuses on the intersection of law, culture, media and technology in United States history. Her recent research has explored the history of censorship, privacy and defamation.

Barbas holds a PhD in U.S. history from the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D from Stanford Law School. She was previously a professor of history at Chapman University, a visiting professor of history at U.C. Berkeley, and a lecturer at Arizona State University. She clerked for Judge Richard Clifton on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Honolulu.

Barbas is the author of seven books: Actual Malice: Civil Rights and Freedom of the Press in New York Times v. Sullivan (UC Press, 2023);  The Rise and Fall of Morris Ernst: Free Speech Renegade (University of Chicago Press, May 2021); Confidential Confidential: The Inside Story of Hollywood’s Notorious Scandal Magazine (Chicago Review Press, 2018); Newsworthy: The Supreme Court Battle Over Privacy and Press Freedom (Stanford University Press, 2017); Laws of Image: Privacy and Publicity in America (Stanford University Press, 2015); The First Lady of Hollywood: A Biography of Louella Parsons (University of California Press, 2005); Movie Crazy: Fans, Stars, and the Cult of Celebrity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2001).

Barbas’ books have been reviewed in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, among other news media outlets. In 2020, she received a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar award for her book in progress, on the Supreme Court First Amendment case New York Times v. Sullivan. Barbas is an adviser on the Restatement of the Law (Third) of Torts: Defamation and Privacy.

Kyu Ho Youm, Jonathan Marshall First Amendment Chair, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon

Kyu Ho Youm is the Jonathan Marshall First Amendment Chair at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. Youm’s law review articles have been cited by American and foreign courts, including the House of Lords in Great Britain and the High Court of Australia, on freedom of expression. In addition, his media law research is often used by American and international lawyers in representing their clients in press freedom litigation. Youm serves on the editorial boards of a dozen major law and communication journals in the United States and England. He holds an MA and PhD from Southern Illinois University, an MSL from Yale Law School, and an MSt from Oxford University.

David Schulz, Floyd Abrams Lecturer in Law, Senior Research Scholar in Law, and Director of Media Freedom & Information Access Clinic, Yale Law School; Senior Counsel, Media Practice Group, Ballard Spahr, LLP

David A. Schulz is Senior Counsel in the media and entertainment law group at Ballard Spahr LLP and Director of the Media Freedom & Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School, where he serves as the Floyd Abrams Clinical Lecturer and a Senior Research Scholar. His Yale clinic provides pro bono representation to journalists and other researchers to support robust investigative journalism and to advance the public’s right of access to information needed for democracy to function. Mr. Schulz’ private practice is concentrated in media law, First Amendment, and intellectual property litigation. Over the past four decades he has handled a wide variety of lawsuits and appeals in federal and state courts located throughout the United States, including precedent-setting cases on the public’s right of access to government proceedings and information, and the scope of constitutional protection for newsgathering. Mr. Schulz currently serves on the New York Committee on Open Government, the State agency responsible for overseeing the open meetings, freedom of information and personal privacy laws, and is a General Trustee of Knox College, in Galesburg, Illinois. He has served on the Governing Board of the Communications Committee of the American Bar Association, and previously chaired the Media Law Committee of the International Bar Association, the Communications Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association, and the Defense Counsel Section of the Media Law Resource Center. Mr. Schulz is a co-author of the leading treatise on newsgathering, NEWSGATHERING AND THE LAW, 5 TH ed. (Lexis/Nexis, 2019) and the author of numerous scholarly articles.

Mary FitzgeraldMary Fitzgerald, Director of Expression, Open Society Foundation

Mary Fitzgerald is the Open Society Foundations’ director of Expression, leading our global work to advance open society values at the intersection of journalism, technology, and culture and art.

Prior to joining the Open Society, Fitzgerald was editor-in-chief and CEO of the global news outlet openDemocracy, where she built an award-winning team of journalists and oversaw major growth in the organization’s global reach and impact. She established an investigative journalism unit and led ground-breaking campaigns to defend journalism and force transparency from governments and big tech. 

Before openDemocracy, she worked as a senior campaigner with the global organization Avaaz, where she organized campaigns to defend human rights and expose corruption, and as a senior editor of Prospect magazine in London. She has written for the New York Times, the Guardian, the Financial Times, the New York Review of Books, the Boston Globe, Al Jazeera, and others.

She currently sits on the Avaaz board of directors and on the Prospect editorial board. She has also served as a trustee for the human rights charity Reprieve, and on the editorial code committee of Impress, the U.K. press regulator.

Richard WinfieldRichard N. Winfield, Co-founder and Chair of the Media Law Working Group, ISLP

Dick teaches media law at Columbia and Fordham law schools, and serves as of counsel in the international law firm of Clifford Chance (having initially been a Partner at Rogers & Wells), where he was engaged in a communications and commercial litigation practice with emphasis on First Amendment litigation. Dick was for many years General Counsel for the Associated Press, and has worked closely with American publishers and editors, defending the organization as well as other media clients in hundreds of press freedom cases.
Dick’s deep involvement in extending freedom of the press is reflected in his pro bono, volunteer work, teaching, and previous law practice. Having worked abroad in over 20 countries, Dick created and co-chairs ISLP’s media law working group, and in 2015 was honored by the organization with its Global Pro Bono Visionary award. In addition to serving as ISLP’s Board Treasurer, he was chair of The Fund for Peace, a Washington-based NGO, and the World Press Freedom Committee.

Dick has an undergraduate degree from Villanova University and a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center. He served his country as a U.S. naval officer for four years, when he taught European history as well as U.S. diplomatic history at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.