Public Events


Public Events

FAC holds both live and virtual events to tackle some of the most pressing free speech and government transparency issues of the day. Events are free, on-the-record and open to the public.

Virtual events


LIVE FROM THE INTERNET: IT'S SCOTUS - Accessing Courts in a Post Pandemic World

The pandemic forced courts around the county, including the U.S. Supreme Court, to adopt new ways to make their proceedings public. What can be learned from this time of experimentation, including trials by Zoom? What might the future of electronic court access look like post pandemic? Featuring U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel (ret.), executive director of the Berkeley Judicial Institute, in conversation with FAC’s David Snyder.

May 20, 2020


Our panel explores how public access to and participation in government meetings changed amid the coronavirus pandemic, as some provisions of open-meetings laws in California were loosened. FAC Litigation Director Glen Smith, Berkeleyside's Emilie Raguso, SPJ NorCal Vice President Joe FItzgerald Rodriguez, and League of Women Voters California’s Gloria Chun Hoo discuss what the public gained and lost as meetings went virtual.

April 30, 2020 


This program focuses on how governments responded to their obligations under the California Public Records Act amid the pandemic. Panelists provide tips for overcoming barriers to accessing public information. The discussion features media lawyers and reporters who published accountability journalism using public records amid the pandemic. Co-hosted by SPJ NorCal.

April 16, 2020 

Journalists Shield Law Workshop

Journalist Shield Law Workshop

Our Shield Law Workshop for journalists provides an overview of California and federal laws that help reporters protect their confidential sources and unpublished newsgathering materials. The 90-minute session includes presentations by Aaron Field, media lawyer, Cannata O’Toole Fickes & Olson, and Victoria Baranetsky, general counsel, the Center for Investigative Reporting, along with an interview with Ryan Mac, a senior technology reporter at Buzzfeed, who was targeted by subpoenas related to his work in 2019. Presented by FAC and the Freedom of Information Committee of SPJ NorCal on June 2.

past events

Panel Discussions

Panelists: FAC Litigation Director Glen Smith, who joined and former California Public Utilities Commission President Loretta Lynch and journalist Seth Rosenfeld

Uber and Lyft Riders: Is the State Keeping You Safe?

Feb. 20, 2020

 The Public Press and FAC recently hosted an event featuring FAC’s Litigation Director Glen Smith, who joined journalist Seth Rosenfeld and former California Public Utilities Commission President Loretta Lynch for a discussion about what the lack of transparency means for the public. Listen to the full program on San Francisco Public Press’ Civic Podcast

California vs. The First Amendment

Dec. 5, 2019

Forget Trump. Golden State governments were behind an unrelenting series of affronts to the First Amendment in 2019. Police went after a journalist’s sources with a sledgehammer. The state attorney general threatened to prosecute reporters and fought in court to weaken the state’s new police accountability law. And a series of decisions at the local level ran afoul of free speech and open-government principles.
Join us for a Digital Townsquare

The Future of Online Speech In An Age of Hyperpartisanship

Oct. 10, 2019

Social media platforms face intense and growing pressure to rein in misinformation and extremist content. On the left, presidential candidates are threatening to break up Big Tech while the right has pushed to alter Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — a foundation of the modern Internet. With the tech giants facing a nearly impossible balancing act, will free speech suffer? Has it already? 


What Happened to The ‘Golden Age of Free Speech’?

Dec. 6, 2018

A conversation that explores how to promote and protect free expression in this environment. What role should the new “gatekeepers”—Google, Twitter and Facebook—play? What ways can people sort through the chaos to find reliable information? How can we protect the rights and values guaranteed by the First Amendment in an era when public speech has essentially become privatized?

Oct. 3, 2018

FAC joined with KQED Public Radio and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism to host a candid conversation among both reporters and observers, who will reflected on how we got here, what responsible journalism’s response to Trump’s rhetoric should be, and most importantly, what journalists can do now to combat the anti-press agenda and restore public trust in the post-truth age.

July 17, 2018

FAC, Bloomberg and Electronic Frontier Foundation hosted a discussion regarding the future of free speech when private companies like tech giants Google, Facebook, and Twitter are charged with policing communications on the Internet?  Since the First Amendment doesn’t apply to private companies, they’re left to decide for themselves what to allow and what to censor.

Fact or Fiction?: How to Combat Disinformation in the Digital Age

May 10, 2018

FAC, New America and Slate’s Future Tense met in Washington DC to address the First Amendment challenges that arise when policymakers call for limits on speech and greater involvement by tech companies in policing online content. Are these steps the answer? Or should we be developing a long-term strategy for educating Americans and honing their media literacy skills.