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Bender and Rogers to discuss press freedom at Coastal

September 2, 2005

Attorney Jay Bender and Bill Rogers, executive director of the South Carolina Press Association (SCPA), will speak on press freedom issues Friday, Sept. 9 at 1:30 in the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts, room 255. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The discussion will focus on student press law and its responsibilities, in addition to libel, invasion of privacy and effective use of the Freedom of Information Act.

Bender has represented South Carolina newspapers for 25 years on a wide range of issues affecting the press. He represented newspapers and the SCPA in a successful bid to have the state's criminal libel statute declared unconstitutional, and he has also been involved in lawsuits that have secured access for the public and press to judicial proceedings and public records.

As lobbyist for the SCPA, Bender has worked to secure improvements in the state's Freedom of Information Act, to open physician discipline proceedings to public scrutiny and to obtain the passage of a shield law to protect reporters and news organizations. He is an adjunct professor in both the Journalism College and Law School at the University of South Carolina where he teaches courses in communications law.

Rogers is executive director of the South Carolina Press Association, the trade group for the state's 90 newspapers. He has held the position for more than 18 years, and his duties include lobbying on behalf of newspaper and freedom of information matters.

Rogers was awarded a 1997 "Sunshine Award" by the national Society of Professional Journalists for his work on open records. Prior to joining SCPA, he was an assistant professor in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of South Carolina for five years. He has also taught at the University of Alabama School of Communication in Tuscaloosa, and at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., where he earned a master's degree in journalism.

Rogers worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for 10 years on daily and weekly newspapers in Virginia and North Carolina.

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