What is Student Press Freedom Day?
Student Press Freedom Day is a national day of action when we celebrate the contributions of student journalists and the need to support their independence without censorship or threat to their advisers. We call attention to the arbitrary and needless censorship of student journalists, and call upon elected officials to restore and protect student press freedom.
The Student Press Law Center created Student Press Freedom Day to give student journalists a platform to advocate for press freedom in their communities. We support the advocates with our legal and policy expertise, by educating them on their rights, and through our toolkit, designed to make hosting an event as easy as possible. Join us Feb. 23, 2023 for Student Press Freedom Day!
SPFD 2023: Bold Journalism and Brave Advocacy
The theme for Student Press Freedom Day 2023 (Feb. 23) is Bold Journalism and Brave Advocacy. It takes courage to pursue hard truths, to doggedly investigate important stories, to fight back against censorship, to withstand pressures to self-censor, and to advocate for policies and laws that will protect press freedom for future students. Student journalists do this difficult work every day — and their campuses and communities are stronger for it.
That’s why this year, we’re bringing together the student media community to learn new journalistic and advocacy skills, to work creatively to overcome censorship and other barriers, and to inspire each other to courageously fight for student press freedom. We’re bolder and braver together!
Meet the First Amendment, educational, legal and journalistic organizations who partner with SPLC bring you Student Press Freedom Day!
Meet the 2023 student co-chairs — the student voice of the SPFD planning committee.
Why should I get involved?
Student journalists practice responsible journalism and hold the powerful accountable, but in most states their right to do so is at risk. Without state-based New Voices laws which limit when school administrators can censor student journalists, administrators have used the Supreme Court’s 1988 Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier decision to censor their stories for just about any reason.
Standing up for the rights of student journalists is more important than ever in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Student journalists are reporting critical information about outbreaks, school re-opening procedures and vaccination policies and continue to be on the front lines of these changes.
Share your story, connect with your local New Voices chapter, write an op-ed and more
Join SPLC’s series of trainings leading up to Student Press Freedom Day or host your own!
Why February 23?
Student Press Freedom Day 2023 falls on Feb. 23, the fourth day of Scholastic Journalism Week and the day before the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1969 Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District decision. The Tinker decision was a major win for student press freedom. It’s only fitting to use this day to advocate for state New Voices laws, which prevent censorship by restoring public school media to the Tinker standard. Read more about Tinker and its legacy here.
New Voices is a student-led movement working to protect and restore press freedom for student journalists. Through enacting state laws, New Voices advocates aim to shield students from the harmful effects of the US Supreme Court’s 1988 Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier decision which is commonly used to censor their voices.
Student Press Freedom Day activities are an opportunity for student journalists to demonstrate why these laws are needed.