The News Media - The Media Chapter 9 Constitutional...

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The Media Chapter 9 Constitutional Setting *First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press *Virtually no prior restraint *Prior restraint = government censorship before publication *American courts presume that prior restraints on the press are unconstitutional *Government must be forth compelling reasons for any such action Constitutional Setting * Actual malice standard for libel and slander suits by public officials against media defendants Libel = written falsehoods that defame *Slander = spoken falsehoods that defame *Actual Malice = story must be published either: Knowing it was false, OR *With “reckless disregard” for the truth Constitutional Setting “Invasion of privacy” suits work under a similar actual malice standard *Strict definition of obscenity *“Offensive speech” may be regulated for certain types of electronic media Broadcast radio and television Regulation by Congress Communications Act of 1934 regulates broadcasting Licensing of broadcasters *Requirement to meet certain standards Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates broadcasting under the Communications Act FCC Regulations
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Requirement that stations “serve the public interest” Function of limited number of frequencies available Licensing may be revoked for violations of statute or FCC regulations Rarely done due to First Amendment considerations The Demise of the Fairness Doctrine Federal law used to required broadcast media to be fair and balanced Equal time to opposing candidates and points of view
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