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Release: Immediate

Internet censorship/decency debate scheduled Monday, April 14, at UI

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A pro-family legal policy advocate will debate a proponent of First Amendment protections on the controversial topic of "Internet Censorship/Decency" Monday, April 14, at the University of Iowa.

The debate between Cathleen Cleaver, director of legal policy with the Family Research Council, and Roger Newman, author of "Banned Films: Censors and the First Amendment" and research scholar with New York University School of Law, will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union. Admission is free and open to the general public. The debate is sponsored by the University Lecture Committee. Samuel Becker, professor emeritus of communication studies, is debate moderator.

With the rise in accessibility to and popularity of the Internet, Cleaver and Newman face off on some highly charged issues pertaining to the future course of cyberspace. Their appearance comes as the U.S. Supreme Court weighs the constitutionality of the Communications Decency Act, enacted by Congress last year, which made it a crime to make "indecent" materials available to children on the Internet. Each of the debaters has made numerous media appearances and has written widely in support of their respective, conflicting viewpoints on the censorship issue.

In support of Internet content regulation, Cleaver is an expert on First Amendment issues related to pornography and religious liberty, as well as in the areas of euthanasia and parental rights. Before joining the Family Research Council, she was legal counsel and program director for the National Law Center for Children and Families, a legal center founded to strengthen and defend laws against obscenity, child pornography and sexual exploitation. She received a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida, and is a National Institute for Trial Advocacy graduate.

Supporting free speech protections for Internet communicators, Newman has written numerous books and articles on a variety of topics, specializing on those pertaining to the U.S. Supreme Court and constitutional law. His book, "Hugo Black: A Biography," was highly acclaimed and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1994. He currently is working on a book with the sitting Supreme Court justices tentatively titled, "The Justices: The Supreme Court Today." He also has tackled controversial issues such as school prayer and library censorship.

The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and other grants, he holds a law degree from Cardozo Law School, a master's degree in history from the University of Virginia and a master's degree in politics from New York University, and a bachelor's degree from Hunter College.

Persons with disabilities who are in need of accommodations in order to participate should contact the Lecture Committee at (319) 335-3255.