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Media law & ethics

Media law & ethics






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    Media law & ethics Media law & ethics Presentation Transcript

    • Media Law & Ethics Mass Media & Society
    • First AmendmentCongress shall make no law respecting anestablishment of religion, or prohibiting the freeexercise thereof; or abridging the freedom ofspeech, or of the press; or the right of the peoplepeaceably to assemble, and to petition thegovernment for a redress of grievances.
    • Fourth EstateThe media are supposed to keep the otherbranches of government in check.
    • Categorical speech Incitement “Fightingwords” True threats Defamation (some of the time) False commercial speech Obscenity
    • Print v. Broadcast Print and Internet get most protection Broadcast gets less  Scarcity  Pervasiveness
    • Federal Communications Commission Regulates broadcast media Controls licensing Fines for indecency  (Safe Harbor: 10 p.m. - 6a.m.)
    • ObscenityMiller test whether the average person applying contemporary community standards would find that the work taken as a whole appeals to prurient interest; whether the work depicts or describes in a patently offensive way sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and whether the work taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.
    • DefamationLying about someone or twisting the truth in such a way as tocreate a false impression that damages that person’s reputationor potentially exposes the person to ridicule is the basis fordefamation.
    • Two types of defamation • Libel – published or broadcast • Slander – spoken words of limited reach
    • Six elements of libel Publication Identification Defamation Falsity Fault Injury
    • Quotes won’t protect youRepeating a source’s libelous remark in a story or broadcast iscalled republication of libel.Allegedly won’t protect you either.
    • Defenses to libel Truth Qualified privilege Protected opinion Implied consent Right of reply
    • Common-Law PrivacyViolations  Publication of private facts   Intrusion upon seclusion   Appropriation for commercial use   False Light 
    • Privacy defenses Newsworthiness   Public figure or official Consent Plain view (standing in doctrine) Public record or proceeding 
    • Ethical consideration forprivacyJournalists need to distinguish among:  Right to know Need to know Want to know (not worth privacy invasion)
    • Plagiarism Plagiarism is the taking of someone else’s  words, research or ideas and representing  them as your own.  It is essentially theft of credit for someone  else’s work done. 
    • CopyrightInvolves taking someone else’s protectedexpression without permission.It does not protect facts or ideas.
    • Copyrights Reproduction Distribution Derivative Public performance Public display
    • Criteria for copyright Original to the creator Fixed in a tangible medium of expression Modicum of creativity
    • Copyright Myths Things on the Internet are not protected If it doesn’t have a copyright symbol it is not  protected If you change it, it’s OK to use
    • Works for hire Employees do not own copyrights to their  work Independent contractors do
    • Length of CopyrightLife of the creator plus 70 years95 years for corporate works
    • Fair Use The purpose and character of the use The nature of the material The amount and substantiality of the portion used in  relation to the whole The effect of the use on the market for the work. 
    • Commercial speech False commercial speech not protected Regulated by the FTC (but also FCC and  FDA)
    • FTC definition of false advertising Representation, omission or practice must be likely to mislead the consumer Act or practice must be considered from the perspective of a consumer who is acting reasonably Representation must be material
    • Responsibility for ad content Advertising agencies can be held responsible for false advertising if they know or have reason to know it is false or misleading Media managers are not responsible for false or deceptive advertising, or for injuries resulting from defective products unless the newspaper, magazine or broadcaster helped to create the ad Unless potential detrimental effects of an ad are so obvious anyone could see it
    • Right to refuse advertising Barring a few exceptions, private publishers and broadcasters are under no obligation to accept advertising. Courts have also extended that into the online realm.
    • EthicsMass Media and Society
    • Plagiarism Defined as taking someone else’s words, research or ideas and representing that material as your own.
    • Three kinds of plagiarists • Those who know they are stealing either a part of someone’s work, or the whole thing; • Those who inadvertently drop a citation or become confused about the source of a line; and • Those who do not understand the rules of plagiarism and do it out of ignorance.
    • David Cragin comparison  “Most of these hotels in the city are more than half a century old; they were built for the solitary working man who streamed into the city to toil at the wharves and the railway lines. They were never meant for families.”  “Most of these hotels are more than a half-century old; they were built as hives for the working men who streamed to this city to toil at the wharves and the railway lines. They were never meant for families.”
    • Cultural hurdles in journalism • Pressure to make a story interesting • Pressure to get it first • Pressure to be objective • Pressure to get “both” sides of the story • Pressure to take an adversarial approach
    • What is ethics?Ethics is the act of reasoned inquiry into the principled or moraldimension of our lives.
    • Ethical dilemmas• Deontological ethics (absolutist / rule-based)• Teleological ethics (situational / consequential)
    • Categorical imperative Immanuel Kant - a deontological ethicist  Act as though your decision would become universal law  Always treat others as ends in themselves, not as means to an end.
    • Utilitarianism John Stuart Mill - a teleological ethicist  Act so you would do the greatest good for the greatest number  Ethical people consider the consequences of their actions
    • Agape Judeo-Christian ethic  Treat others as you would like to be treated  The Golden Rule
    • Golden Mean Aristotle and Confucius  Look for the middle course between two extremes.  e.g. Courage is the middle state between acting cowardly or acting foolheartedly.  But some situations don’t have a middle state (i.e. stealing)
    • Veil of Ignorance John Rawls  Imagine that all parties affected by the ethical question could disappear behind a veil of ignorance where they might trade places.  Parties will pick the solution fairest for all out of self interest.
    • Ethical Principles Categorical imperative – Immanuel Kant Utilitarianism – John Stuart Mill Agape – Judeo-Christian perspective Golden Mean – Aristotle and Confucius Veil of Ignorance – John Rawls
    • The Potter Box Empirical Definition Choosing Loyalties Identifying Values Appeal to Ethical Principle
    • Step 1Define the situation.What is the ethical dilemma? What are the facts of thecase? Are there any legal considerations?
    • Step 2Ask yourself, “What are my personal orprofessional values? What is important to me inthis situation?”
    • Step 3Ask yourself, “What are my guiding principles?”
    • Step 4To whom will you be loyal?
    • Step 5Feedback(The answer you find for your specific dilemma may becomeyour policy for other situations.)