Media law & ethics

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Media law & ethics

  1. 1. Media Law & Ethics Mass Media & Society
  2. 2. 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.
  3. 3. Fourth EstateThe media are supposed to keep the otherbranches of government in check.
  4. 4. Categorical speech Incitement “Fightingwords” True threats Defamation (some of the time) False commercial speech Obscenity
  5. 5. Print v. Broadcast Print and Internet get most protection Broadcast gets less  Scarcity  Pervasiveness
  6. 6. Federal Communications Commission Regulates broadcast media Controls licensing Fines for indecency  (Safe Harbor: 10 p.m. - 6a.m.)
  7. 7. 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.
  8. 8. 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.
  9. 9. Two types of defamation • Libel – published or broadcast • Slander – spoken words of limited reach
  10. 10. Six elements of libel Publication Identification Defamation Falsity Fault Injury
  11. 11. 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.
  12. 12. Defenses to libel Truth Qualified privilege Protected opinion Implied consent Right of reply
  13. 13. Common-Law PrivacyViolations  Publication of private facts   Intrusion upon seclusion   Appropriation for commercial use   False Light 
  14. 14. Privacy defenses Newsworthiness   Public figure or official Consent Plain view (standing in doctrine) Public record or proceeding 
  15. 15. Ethical consideration forprivacyJournalists need to distinguish among:  Right to know Need to know Want to know (not worth privacy invasion)
  16. 16. 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. 
  17. 17. CopyrightInvolves taking someone else’s protectedexpression without permission.It does not protect facts or ideas.
  18. 18. Copyrights Reproduction Distribution Derivative Public performance Public display
  19. 19. Criteria for copyright Original to the creator Fixed in a tangible medium of expression Modicum of creativity
  20. 20. 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
  21. 21. Works for hire Employees do not own copyrights to their  work Independent contractors do
  22. 22. Length of CopyrightLife of the creator plus 70 years95 years for corporate works
  23. 23. 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. 
  24. 24. Commercial speech False commercial speech not protected Regulated by the FTC (but also FCC and  FDA)
  25. 25. 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
  26. 26. 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
  27. 27. 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.
  28. 28. EthicsMass Media and Society
  29. 29. Plagiarism Defined as taking someone else’s words, research or ideas and representing that material as your own.
  30. 30. 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.
  31. 31. 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.”
  32. 32. 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
  33. 33. What is ethics?Ethics is the act of reasoned inquiry into the principled or moraldimension of our lives.
  34. 34. Ethical dilemmas• Deontological ethics (absolutist / rule-based)• Teleological ethics (situational / consequential)
  35. 35. 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.
  36. 36. 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
  37. 37. Agape Judeo-Christian ethic  Treat others as you would like to be treated  The Golden Rule
  38. 38. 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)
  39. 39. 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.
  40. 40. Ethical Principles Categorical imperative – Immanuel Kant Utilitarianism – John Stuart Mill Agape – Judeo-Christian perspective Golden Mean – Aristotle and Confucius Veil of Ignorance – John Rawls
  41. 41. The Potter Box Empirical Definition Choosing Loyalties Identifying Values Appeal to Ethical Principle
  42. 42. Step 1Define the situation.What is the ethical dilemma? What are the facts of thecase? Are there any legal considerations?
  43. 43. Step 2Ask yourself, “What are my personal orprofessional values? What is important to me inthis situation?”
  44. 44. Step 3Ask yourself, “What are my guiding principles?”
  45. 45. Step 4To whom will you be loyal?
  46. 46. Step 5Feedback(The answer you find for your specific dilemma may becomeyour policy for other situations.)

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