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FSU ADV 3352 - Mass Media Law Final Exam

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Mass Media Law Final ExamChapters 9, 11, 13, 14Gathering InformationGovernment Information & Three Sources of Law• Three Sources of Law Concerning Access to Government Informationo Common law : limited source; strict limitations Must have interest in the record (party to a litigation—has filed a lawsuit) Only records required to be kept by gov are subject to disclosure (gov doesn’t require all to be kept)o Constitutional law : (First Amendment) Adopted as means for the public to confront the government, not for the press to report on the government’s activities  Right to attend criminal trialso Statutory law : (state and federal) Freedom of Information Act (1966)• Important for Press rights to gain access to government documents Homeland Security Act (2002)• Made any critical infrastructure information that’s voluntarily submitted to the federal government by private people or businesses was exempt from the Freedom of Information Act• Prohibited people or press from accessing documents submitted by people that commented on the infrastructure of buildings or areas Public Records or Sunshine LawsFreedom of Information Act• Broadness depends on how the government interprets it (Bush gave narrow interpretation of the Act due to 9/11)• Recap the rules:o Only applies to federal agencies (does not apply to congress or federal courts)o Must be a record, including electronic records (all written or electronic documents, films, tapes, photographs, records held by private contracts, etc.) Nine important exemptions (national security, etc.)State Public Records Law• Vary from state to state• General principles:o Doesn’t matter why you want it or who you areo Applies to records kept by state agencieso Applies to all emails of government employees at these agencieso Various exemptions—classified information, trade secrets, department preliminary papersFlorida’s Public Records Laws• Florida is one of the first states to enact law• Source: Florida Constitution and Florida Statutes• Major problem: Once given to government, document becomes a public recordo Examples: FSU and NCAAFree Press & Free TrialFree Press• First Amendment• “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press”Right to a Fair Trial• Sixth Amendment • “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense”The Intersection of the First and Sixth Amendments• Stories that endanger the right to a fair trialo Stories about confessions Timothy McVeigh (accused & convicted of Oklahoma City bombing)o Polygraph resultso Past criminal historyo Stories questioning the credibility of plays in a trialo Stories about the Defendant’s character, personality or friendso Stories that tend to inflame the public against the Defendanto Stories that suggest or imply the Defendant’s guilt Casey Anthony• Impartial Jurorso Must be free of deep impressions and beliefs that will not yield to the evidence that is presented during the trial (U.S. v. Burr, 1807)o Jurors need not be totally ignorant of the facts and issues (Murphy v. Fla, 1975)o The question is whether or not jurors can put aside any bias and impartially judge guilt/innocence (Patton v. Yount, 1984)• What do judges do to limit pretrial publicity and ensure a fair trial?o Voir dire : the process by which the lawyers and the judge question the potential jurors about their feelings/biases/opinions about the case Challenges for cause (made by an attorney who believes some answer the juror gave displays bias—the juror has already made up their mind) Peremptory challenges (no real reason given—striking a juror for an unknown reason; limited number of these)o Change of venue (asking to move the trial to leave pre-trial publicity)o Continuance (court briefly postpones trial in hopes of diminishing pre-trial publicity)o Admonition to jury (courts instructions to the jury; direct jurors to listen to evidence—not to read outside materials)o Sequestration (judge decides publicity is so broad that jurors must be sequestered into a hotel—can no longer participate in their daily lives)ObscenityFirst Amendment• Obscenity overviewo First amendment issue (is obscenity protected by the first amendment?)o Sexually explicit material o Adult video industry: more than $12 billion a yearo Controversial (religion, feminists)• Obscenity and the First Amendmento First amendment protects sexually explicit material, but NOT obscenity or child pornographyo There is no legal definition for pornography (social term—not used in courts)o Even sexually explicit material that is not obscene can be regulated in many ways: Variable obscenity statutes (accessible only to adults, masking magazines at stores)• Government not permitted to ban the flow of legal material to adults, but can limit visibility or sale to minors Zoning regulations (government prohibiting adult stores around a school)• Local governments’ ability to state that certain types of usability can limit explicit materialDefinitions• Definition of Obscenity o Miller v. California (1973) Mail orders sent out, Miller was arrested for distributing obscenity (taken to Supreme Court) Supreme Court determined the Miller testo Miller Test: An average person, applying contemporary local community standards, finds that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to prurient interest (prurient is shameful and morbid interest in nudity, sex, or excretion) The work depicts in a patently offensive way sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable state law (patently offensive is determined by the Court) The work in question lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value (Judge’s opinion)• Definition of Child Pornographyo Images of minors (under 18) engaged in sexually explicit conducto Distinguish with Miller test: If an image involves a minor and meets the test, it doesn’t matter what the community standard is, for example: Child Porn Prevention Act (unconstitutional—actors were


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