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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Richard B Kielbowicz
POL S 461
Seattle Campus

Mass Media Law

Survey of laws and regulations that affect the print and broadcast media. Includes material on First Amendment, libel, invasion of privacy, freedom of information, copyright, obscenity, advertising and broadcast regulation, and matters relating to press coverage of the judicial system. Offered: jointly with COM 440.

Class description

Description: This course will explore the media’s legal rights and responsibilities in gathering, preparing, and disseminating news and public information. It also explains the constitutional protections afforded the press in the United States and how those protections have evolved (and are still evolving) in the Twentieth Century. On one level, the course deals with legal problems encountered by media professionals. Although the course focuses on legal matters, some of our discussion provides guidance for communication professionals as they grapple with ethical decisions. On another level, we’ll discuss why the law is the way it is – in other words, the principles, reasoning, and political decisions that underpin court decisions and legislative statutes. Many of the issues that we’ll discuss involve current controversies in communication law and policy.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Texts: Don R. Pember, Mass Media Law, 2003-04 edition.

Class assignments and grading

Assignments: There will be a quiz and two exams. Test questions will be drawn from material presented in class and in the assigned readings.

Grading: Quiz & Two Tests: 75 %; Quiz Section: 25 %.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Suman C. Chhabra
Date: 08/14/2007