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Legal Issues of the Mass Media_Lambe_Date_022210

Legal Issues of the Mass Media_Lambe_Date_022210 - Legal...

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Legal Studies of the Mass Media Anyone who is planning on publishing in a public setting needs to be aware of what can affect or harm you legally. It is important as future communication professionals as well as citizens/media consumers. What is “Law”? “A set of rules that attempt to guide human conduct and a set of formal, governmental sanctions that are applied when those rules are violated.” o Rules that will guide us so we know the consequences of our actions and determine the predictability of what we will do. Law = what you CAN do (the minimum standard) Ethics = what you SHOULD do Four Primary Sources of Law o Constitutions o Statutory Law o Rulings of executive and Administrative Agencies o Common Law (case law) Constitutions: o Give the structure of government o Set out the rights of citizens who live under the constitution (on both state and federal levels) o Supremacy Doctrine – In the US our constitution is the supreme law of the Land. Every thing that is passed has to go by the laws of the constitution and can’t go against them. Very difficult to amend the constitution. o Establishes 3 Branches of government: Legislative – enacts statutory laws Executive – enforces laws Judicial – interprets laws (common law) Statutory Laws: o Made by legislative bodies. o Tend to deal with “big issues, not with specific problems o Legislators are allowed to anticipate problems. They don’t have to wait for issues to arise, unlike common laws where courts have to watch to deliberate. o Statues are collected in codes and law books – written down for public knowledge. Rulings by Executive and Administrative Agencies o Agencies created to handle specific, complex areas of law Congress cannot deal with the intricacies of some issues on a day-to-day basis – also some senators are experts the fields in which these agencies are. o Rulings/orders of agencies must be followed by the industries they regulate – they are as good as statuary laws. o Each agency publishes its own rules and orders
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o Ex. Media Agencies Federal Communications Commission – jurisdiction over electronic media Federal Trade Commission – regulates some advertising issues and antitrust actions Common Law/Case Law o “Principles and rules of law that derive their authority not from legislation but usage and custom” o Rules developed by addressing specific Factual Situations – done by the courts They will articulate the principles used to get that decision, set precedents from older cases that benefit the current one.
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