Law and ethics


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Law and ethics

  2. 2. The First Amendment Democracy – government by the people requires a free press. Libertarianism  People cannot govern themselves in a democracy unless they have access to the information they need for that governance.  Based on “self-righting principle” – fathered by John Milton (1644)  Included the free flow or trade of ideas serves to ensure that public discourse will allow the truth to emerge  Truth will emerge from public discourse because people are inherently rational and good.
  3. 3. First Amendment 6KPhg&feature=related What does “NO LAW” mean?  US Congress can make NO LAW but what about state legislature?  Gitlowvs New York – 1925 – settled this, involved the right of the state to limit the publication of a socialist newsletter.  “Congress shall make no law” should be interpreted as “government agencies shall make no law…”
  4. 4. What is “the Press” What “press” enjoys First Amendment protection. Movies (1952), TV and Radio (1973) Advertising and commercial speech (1942) Entertainment content (1967)
  5. 5. Abridgment Freedom, with some limits 1919 – Schenk v. United States defined “clear and present danger” as a limit to first amendment freedoms.  A pamphlet was issued urging resistance to the military draft during WWI.  This is where the you can’t shout “fire” in a crowded theater saying came from – that speech would not be protected.  Established the legal philosophy that there is no ABSOLUTE freedom of expression, it is one of degree
  6. 6. Other issues Cameras in the courtroom Free press vs. Fair trial  First Amendment vs. the Sixth Amendment  Should cameras be allowed…supporting the public’s right to know, or do they so alter the workings of the court that a fair trial is impossible?  Consistently decided in favor of fair trial  Print reporters enjoy access to trials, broadcast usually denied.  Later allowed some instances of camera recording
  7. 7. Libel and Slander Libel – is the false and malicious publication of material that damages a person’s reputation. Slander – the oral or spoken defamation of a person’s character THESE ARE NOT protected speech under the First Amendment
  8. 8. Three tests for libel/slander TRUTH – if what is said can be proven as true, it is protected speech. PRIVILEGE - coverage of legislative, court or other public activities could contain information that is not true or that is damaging to someone but the press can still cover it without fear of being hauled into court for slander or libel. FAIR COMMENT – press has the right to express opinions or comments on public issues. Theater and film reviews for instance, however severe are protected speech.
  9. 9. Public Figures Different rules BECAUSE they are in the public eye, usually by choice, they are fair game for comment 1964 – NY Times vs. Sullivan (MLK ad) Have to show that there was ACTUAL MALICE in order to prove libel in a case regarding a public figure. ACTUAL MALICE when reporting on public figures is regarded as KNOWLEDGE of its FALSITY or RECKLESS DISREGARD for whether it is true or not.
  10. 10. Prior Restraint Ability of the government to prevent the publication or broadcast of expression. Rare use in the US but it has been used…number of times the government has attempted to squelch the release of information. If it will cause danger, overthrow by force of an orderly government…threat to national security. Pentagon Papers is a good example. Leaked info.
  11. 11. Obscenity and Pornography Obscenity is not protected Basic guidelines –  Whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards would find that the work taken as a whole, appeals to the 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
  12. 12. Problem What is offensive to me, might not be offensive to you…what I see as art, you may not. The Internet blows “Community Standards” concept OUT of the water. Justice Potter in Ginzburgv. US came up with the “I know it when I see it” judgment of pornography. Pornography IS protected speech, until the court rules it illegal, then it becomes deemed as obscenity. K22o
  13. 13. Other issues Indecency – broadcasting  Think in terms of the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction
  14. 14. Other Issues Deregulation  Fairness Doctrine  This required broadcasters to cover issues of public importance FAIRLY  Other regulations included rules on children’s programming and ascertainment, which required broadcasters to ascertain the wants of the audience  When deregulation occurred it was MUCH easier to get their licenses renewed and the burden of proof was no longer on the station….began with Reagan.
  15. 15. Copyright Internet Music Public Domain
  16. 16. Social Responsibility Theory How the media SHOULD, in theory…act It is a normative theory, or practical and applied theory. It is the standard against which the public should judge the performance of the US media. The theory states that: media must remain free of government control, but in exchange the media must serve the public.
  17. 17. Social Responsibility Theory Balances libertarian concepts of freedom with practical admissions of the need for some form of control on the media.
  18. 18. Social Responsibility Theory Media should accept and fulfill certain obligations of society Can meet these obligations by setting high standards of professionalism, truth, accuracy and objectivity Should be self-regulating within the framework of the law Should avoid disseminating material that might lead to crime or violence or civil disorder, or might offend minority groups As a whole should be pluralistic, reflect the diversity of the culture in which they operate, and give access to various points of view and rights of reply The public has a right to expect high standards of performance, and official intervention can be justified to ensure the public good Media professionals should be accountable to society as well as to their employers and the market. WELL!
  19. 19. So what Basically by rejecting government control of the media and accepting SR theory – which calls for responsible, ethical industry operations – it still does not free audiences from THEIR responsibility. ? Media literacy
  20. 20. ETHICS january-26-2000/media-ethics What is LEGAL is not always ETHICAL What is ETHICAL is not always LEGAL They are NOT THE SAME THING.
  21. 21. Ethics Ethics = rules of behavior or moral principles that guide our actions in given situations. For this class, it specifically means the application of rational thought by media professionals when deciding between two or more competing moral choices.
  22. 22. Three Levels Metaethics Normative ethics Applied ethics
  23. 23. The big ones Truth and Honesty Privacy Confidentiality Personal Conflict of Interest Profit and Social Responsibility Offensive Content
  24. 24. Ethics Creates a web that balances many competing personal and professional norms There is no overseeing body that can punish a journalist for breech of professional codes of ethics
  25. 25. The Steve Jobs example h/2011/01/23/