Richard B Kielbowicz
POL S 461
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.
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-FirstCentury. 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
The course will help you identify the legal issues presented by a communication situation or media story.
The course will help you apply the legal tests that courts use to resolve disputes involving the media.
The course will help you distinguish among the principles governing different domains of communication law -- print, broadcast, common carrier, new media.
The course will help you understand how media law affects American politics and popular culture.
General method of instruction
Lecture and discussion
Texts: Don R. Pember & Clay Calvert, Mass Media Law, 17th edition (2011).
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: 80%; out of class assignments 20%.