The free press faces many challenges in this era of political rhetoric where facts are denounced as fake news and journalists are branded the enemy of the people. Assaults against reporters are increasing. Financially, newspapers struggle while advertising revenue dwindles.

Those issues and others were recently examined by a five-member panel during the Free Speech Forum, a discussion presented in conjunction with the art exhibition Ripped from the Headlines, which showcased an array of social issues. About 80 people attended the event in Fort Lauderdale’s FAT Village.

Speaking on the panel were Jon Garon, J.D., dean of Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law; Darius Daughtry, author and executive director of the Art Prevails Project; Karla Kennedy, Ph.D., visiting instructor, Florida International University Department of Journalism and Media; Megan O’Matz, investigative reporter on the Pulitzer Prize-winning team at the South Florida Sun Sentinel; and Aurelio Moreno, multimedia reporter for the Sun Sentinel and El Sentinel.

Moderator Sally-Ann O’Dowd, a journalist and content producer, opened the two-hour discussion with a look into the origin of the First Amendment.

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