Communications Notes

Communications Notes - Communications Notes First Amendment...

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Communications Notes First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Media short history: -Government regulation of media must be unobtrusive and sufficiently justified -Media industry self-regulation must be sufficiently effective to render official restraint unnecessary -Media practitioners’ conduct should be ethical in order to warrant this special protection -Democracy—government by the people—requires a free press -Libertarianism—philosophy that people cannot govern themselves in a democracy unless they have access to the information they need for that governance -Based on John Milton’s self-righting principle -The free flow or trade of ideas serves to ensure that public discourse allows truth to emerge -Truth emerges from public discourse because people are inherently rational and good Defining and Refining the First Amendment -Today, “no law” includes statutes, laws, administrative regulations, executive and court orders, and ordinances from government regardless of locale -In 1967 Time, Inc. v. Hill decision, Supreme Court argued First Amendment grants same protection to entertainment content as it does to nonentertainment content -Ad hoc balancing of interests—several factors should be weighed in determining how much freedom the press receives -Libel—false and malicious publication of material that damages a person’s reputation -Slander—oral or spoken defamation of a person’s character -The U.S. Supreme Court defined the standard of actual malice for reporting on public figures as knowledge of its falsity or reckless disregard for whether it is true or not -Prior restraint is the power of the government to prevent the publication or broadcast of expression (Near v. Minnesota) -Other Issues of Freedom and Responsibility -Sexually explicit content is pornography (protected) until a court rules it illegal; then it is obscene (unprotected) -Indecent language or material—depicts sexual or excretory activities in a way that is offensive to contemporary community standards -Safe harbor—times (typically 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.) when children are not likely to be in the listening or viewing audience -FCC recognizes potentially offensive content should be available to those who wish to see and hear it -Deregulation
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-In National Broadcasting Co. v. United States the Supreme Court turned what is now known as the traffic cop analogy—that the FCC was no more than a traffic cop, limited to controlling the “flow of traffic”—against NBC -Held that even traffic cops have right to control the flow of traffic and its composition -Fairness Doctrine—required broadcasters to cover issues of public importance and to be fair in the coverage -Ascertainment—required broadcasters to ascertain or actively and affirmatively
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Communications Notes - Communications Notes First Amendment...

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