This class is about the First Amendment and the Free Press. We will discuss a selection of the legal issues generated by the activities of the mass media. We will consider regulations of print, broadcast, and electronic media, including laws that govern obscenity and pornography, laws aimed at balancing free press and fair trial rights, and laws meant to preserve multiple voices in a market. We will explore publication-related issues such as libel and invasion of privacy, and newsgathering-related issues such as the extent of the reporter’s privilege and restrictions on access to information. We will examine common law, regulatory law including Federal Communications Commission regulations, and statutory law including the Freedom of Information Act, but the primary focus of the course will be on how the First Amendment limits governmental control over the media.
The final grade will be based on class participation, an exam, and preparation of a paper on a topic selected by the student and approved by the professor. With the professor’s prior approval, students may prepare a "long paper" to satisfy the Advanced Research and Writing requirement.
This is a seminar course with limited enrollment.
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