What does the Institute do?

We work to preserve and expand the freedoms of speech and the press through strategic litigation, research, and public education. We're particularly interested in the implications of new technology, including the questions raised by electronic surveillance and new communications platforms.

Does the Institute work with media organizations and advocacy groups?

Yes, absolutely. We develop our own litigation and produce and sponsor original research, but we aim to be a valuable partner to advocacy organizations, to media organizations and journalists, and to law school transparency and First Amendment clinics.

Does the Institute's work cover all aspects of the First Amendment?

We are focused on the freedoms of speech and the press. 

What kinds of cases does the Institute take on?

We bring "impact" litigation that has the potential to establish important new law relating to the freedoms of speech and the press, or that has the potential to change significant government policies or practices relating to those freedoms.

How is the Institute funded?

Columbia University and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation established the Institute in 2016, and both have committed substantial resources to it. We are fortunate to be supported as well by Laura and John Arnold, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Democracy Fund, Abby and Rick Elbaum, First Look Media, the Ford Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Charles Koch Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Open Society Foundations, the Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust, and the Zegar Family Foundation.

How is the Institute governed?

The Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization governed by a board that includes members from both within and outside the Columbia University community.