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MEDIA

LAW
[ H a n db o o k S e r i e s ]

[ United States Department of State ]

[ Bureau of International Information Programs ]

MEDIA
LAW
[ H a n db o o k S e r i e s ]

[ United States Department of State ]

[ Bureau of International Information Programs ]

[ ht t p : / /w w w. america .gov / publications / book s / media _ law.html ]

[ handbooks @ state.gov ]

. Jane Kirtley Photo researcher:.. Pool.. 42: AP Images/Fabrizio Giovannozzi.. [ Media Law ] Media Law Handbook A Handbook Series Edition Published in 2010 by: Bureau of International Information Programs United States Department of State http://www...... Dawn McCall Executive Editor:... Lynne D.. 56: Illustration © Rob Colvin/Images.... She was named Director of the Silha Center in May 2000.. Image credits:  age iv: Illustration © Adam Niklewicz/www... 50: Illustration © Brad Holland.. Kirtley also worked as a reporter for the Evansville Press (Indiana) and The Oak Ridger and Nashville Banner (Tennessee)... Devans and Doyle in Rochester..illustratorusa.. 38: Illustration © Douglas Fraser /lindgren & smith..... [ ii ] . 49: AP Images/Marcio Jose Sanchez.... David Hamill Writer:. 53: AP Images/Kathy Willens. Joe Mahoney....gov staff Coordinator:......C.. Michael Jay Friedman Editor in Chief:.. 8: Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) 10: © AP Images/Thomas Kienzle.... Anita Green Art Director/Design:... District of Columbia. and Virginia bars.... Jonathan Margolis Publications Office Director:.... Before joining the Reporters Committee staff....... 25: © AP Images.... D.html medialaw@state.. she was Executive Director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Arlington... Kirtley was an attorney for five years with the law firm of Nixon.............com..... Prior to that...... 2: Courtesy of Prints and P Photographs Division. 16: © AP Images/John Lent..... Hargrave. She is a member of the New York........ and Washington... 40: Illustration © Rafeal Olbinski..... Library of Congress.... 11: © AP Images/Jacques Brinon...... 14: Illustration © Wictor Sadowski...com... Scheib Managing Editor:....... Front Cover: Illustrations from: © Shutterstock/-cuba... New York........... 24: © AP Images/Ron Edmonds...and © Shutterstock/Colorlife... Virginia. 43: AP Images/Jim Wells.america.. 31: © AP Images/Richmond Times-Dispatch...........gov/publications/books/ media-law........... 6: Illustration © Jody Hewgill. Maggie Sliker Jane Kirtley has been the Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law at the School of Journalism and Mass Com- munication at the University of Minnesota since August 1999. for 14 years... 4: © AP Images/Haraz Ghanbari..

Some have detailed and precise statutory schemes. Citizen Journalists. Self- regulatory mechanisms offer a valuable alternative. there are standards for the privileges and responsibilities of a free press in a free society. A free press is best protected through a national constitution or by statutory or common law. Or are they? Free Exchange of Information and Enhancing Civil Society 57 Journalism thrives best where the rule of law is respected. Courts offer aggrieved individuals remedies. [ iii ] . New Media. [ Handbook Series ] Ta ble of Content s Introduction 1 Thoughtful people disagree about the proper role of the news media. and case law. regulations. A Framework for a Free Press 15 A useful starting point create a framework for a free press is to consider what rights are essential in order for journalists to do their jobs. The Responsibilities of Journalists 41 Many individual media organizations and journalists’ associations voluntarily adopt codes or standards of practice as guideposts to help journalists determine the best way to do their jobs. A Good Environment for Fostering Journalists 7 National legal systems vary. Self-Regulation In Lieu of Litigation 39 Journalists and news organizations make mistakes. others have a mix of statutes. Bloggers are a law unto themselves. Despite these disagreements. and Bloggers 51 The freewheeling world of the blogosphere seems like the last bastion of truly free speech.

J oh n S tua rt M ill English philosopher and economist 1806–1873 [ iv ] . [ Introduction ] But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is that it is robbing the human race. still more than those who hold it. those who dissent from the opinion. posterity as well as the existing generation.

and to take po. report it. [ 1 ] . Some believe that journalists should support government and supply the public only with information the government deems appropriate. Others believe that the press A free press is responsible. viewers. as was the case with investiga- should be objective and nonpartisan. Others believe the press to death. ceptions of responsibility vary This book suggests that despite these from country to country. est corridors of power. without fear or favor. the most free press must exercise its lenge assumptions. it will question au. provides its readers. are important to its readers and Most societies would agree that even viewers. consequences. [ Media Law ] Int roduc t ion T houghtful people disagree about the proper role of the news media. But just a few months after the September 11. The press must will pursue those stories that never knowingly publish a falsehood. or even if it leads litical positions. no matter that actions and editorial decisions have where that search may lead—to the high. Yet some essential principles remain ers with the information they need to par. 46 percent of Americans polled believed nancial influence from the private sector. may seem very different than in time of A free and independent press is war or national emergency. attacks in the United States. one that is free from undue fi. tive Russian journalist Anna Politkov- Some believe that the press should re. skaya. the describe the privileges and responsibili. It must be tireless in seeking A free press is courageous and and achieving accuracy. traditions. and listen. For example. to champion causes. including advertisers. Some believe the press instead should be the government’s watchdog. freedom with a clear understanding thority. For many. the news organization. we mean a press that is not vey conducted by the Freedom Forum’s subject to undue government control and First Amendment Center reported that regulation. Some want the press to be an advo. and disagreements there are standards that even from year to year. and it will seek truth. to the owners of cate. It will chal. a sur- In this book. searching out and reporting on abuses of power. standard in times of peace and stability ties of a free press in a free society. essential to any free society. that the press had “too much” freedom. A free press must seek truth and ticipate fully as citizens in a free society. constant. gunned down in a contract killing spect and reflect social institutions and in Moscow in 2006. or the 39 percent re- businesses A free and independent press ported in the 2009 survey. Per- should question and challenge them. what do we mean by a free press? 2001. some of them significant. and economic or a figure that certainly was higher than business pressures from private sector before the attacks.

from passing any statute that news media are almost always subject to Above: Andrew Hamilton defended John Peter Zenger.S. Like any oth. publisher of the New York Weekly Journal. The United States Supreme Court has Freedom of Speech and made clear that certain types of speech a Free Press are not protected by the First Amend- I n the United States. but also But it must also be prepared to take un. or state cite violence or criminal actions. er powerful institution. That absolute language was drafted pared to listen to complaints. The jury acquitted Zenger. during a time of great optimism. over the two hundred-plus years bravely when important principles are that followed. where I live and where I do most of my research and teaching. The nation’s courts popular positions and to face critics have.” [2] . of great uncertainty. interpreted the First at stake. And the legislatures. [ Introduction ] The press has great power to affect the abridges freedom of speech or freedom of lives of millions of people. for example. Hamilton argued the truth of Zenger’s publication was a defense against seditious libel. but perhaps I call it courage. and ican War of Independence (1775–1783). The First Amendment to the U. to acknowledge and correct mistakes. Some may call this arrogance. the press is for the most part ment: publishing details about troop movements in wartime. it must be pre. not quite absolute. fighting words that could predictably in- Constitution prohibits Congress. the press. an action Hamilton praised: “You have laid a noble foundation for securing to ourselves that to which Nature and the Laws of our country have given us a Right—The Liber ty—both of exposing and opposing arbitrary power by speaking and writing Truth. who was charged in 1735 with seditious libel for criticizing the Royal Governor. Amendment as powerful. to explain by revolutionaries shortly after the Amer- its decisions to readers and viewers. Other exceptions would include restric- free from government controls as a matter tions on obscene speech or on so-called of law.

Other coun. news orga. Government should bear journalists like Jayson Blair of the New the burden of justifying any restraints. In Northern Ireland. In the United States. Breen had been tions. a judge in Belfast ruled tion’s rules governing financial and oth. cell phone. their editors. Breen resisted. But after is to publish. sticker on the fender of his car or a plac- laws that prohibit the interception of ard in his front garden. and its readers and viewers. any government attempt to stifle the It would seem unnecessary for ethical free press. didly acknowledged that complying with ists in the United Kingdom. professional obligation to protect the con- scribe to ethical codes of conduct. is the government. journalists’ rights often depend telephoned by an individual who claimed upon fulfillment of responsibilities. Laws. As an American judge once guidelines to address the necessity for wrote. source. pean Convention on Human Rights. In these na. statutes. In some parts of the world. individual ily members. and Suzanne Breen. Sometimes ethics and the law inter- sect. or to display a political gations or punishment. In June 2009. [ Media Law ] laws of general applicability—that is. Or it may prohibit a reporter from do to corporations. computer records. The responsibility may differ greatly from that police demanded that she turn over her of the press itself. and notes In other countries. the answer news organization. the Belfast-based editor codes spell out in detail the conduct re. gal and ethical dilemma. York Times either fabricated or plagia- This formula preserves the watchdog rized the news stories they submitted to role of the press and facilitates govern. an ethical guideline may life at risk in contravention of the Euro- prohibit a reporter from covering a com. like fidentiality of her sources. Or it laws that apply to everyone but that do may forbid a reporter to take part in a not single out the press for special obli. [ 3 ] . faced a le- quired of news organizations. The responsibility for murdering two soldiers rub is that the government’s definition of at Massereene Barracks in Antrim. the law enforcement demands could en- tries impose ethical standards as a matter danger her life. She also can- that of the National Union of Journal. news organizations have adopted their Breen faced the prospect of up to five own ethical guidelines. the about her contacts with the paramilitary press itself. many organizations have ment accountability. tional flag in her lapel as she reports the sion apply to journalists as much as they news. the answer is. arguing that to do so would breach her nizations or individual journalists sub. pany for which her spouse works. protest march. and the lives of her fam- of law. these years in jail for contempt. Guidelines like these are intended pered by a strong tradition that there to maintain both the reality and the ap- always will be a presumption against pearance of journalistic independence. for Dublin’s Sunday Tribune. revised their ethics guidelines to make clear that neither practice can ever be Press Accountability accepted or condoned by a responsible B ut who watches the watchdog? Who ensures that the press will be ac- countable? In some countries. that compelling Breen to surrender her er conflicts of interest. codes or guidelines set out the institu. For example. or even the public. news-gathering materials would put her For example. or to wear a na- telephone conversations without permis. But if she defied the order. Real IRA organization. Typically. for example. accepting even a nominal gift from a news But even these exceptions are tem. the default position for the press accuracy and truth-telling.

even a public official—even if the underlying facts are true. But the ethics to guarantee robust public debate and policies of most news organizations would discussion. Miller. on June 29. District Cour t in Washington. even after judicial rul. Jerry Falwell. ethnic or religious group? In the United ings that journalists possessed no special States. the particular situation and whether they United Nations Human Rights Council strike the proper balance between com. and enforce.” disagree on how they should apply in a On the other hand. She spent 85 days in jail in 2005. As one justice once wrote. statutes that make it Privacy and Libel a crime to insult or “offend the dignity” I s it ever appropriate for a reporter to violate an individual’s privacy? In the United States. but and even journalists themselves—may on the competition of other ideas. after the pornographic Hustler privilege to decline naming confidential magazine satirized the outspoken cler- sources. even if it means going to jail. [4] .” And many countries retain. The Supreme Court of the United ruled that it is lawful for the press to States has never upheld a government Above: New York Times repor ter Judith Miller was jailed for contempt of cour t for refusing to reveal a confidential source. accompanied by her legal team. But is it the fused to cooperate in a criminal investiga. New publish the name of an individual who York Times reporter Judith Miller re. has been sexually assaulted. 2005. require a reporter to honor a promise given “There is no such thing as a false idea. gyman Rev. adopted a resolution condemning “defa- peting societal interests. Reasonable people— the conscience of judges and juries. However pernicious an opinion may Legal and ethical provisions vary from seem. right thing to do? tion seeking the identity of a government Is it right for a journalist to make fun official who had revealed the identity of of a public official or to lampoon a name a covert intelligence agent. the Supreme Some judges and members of the public Court ruled that a free society must tol- argued that journalists can never hold erate even “outrageous” speech in order themselves above the law. DC. the Supreme Court has of any person. to a source. we depend for its correction not on country to country. Miller defied or image that is sacred to a particular orders to testify. mation of religions. [ Introduction ] By contrast. in March 2008. leave the U. in the United States.S.

the courage and confidence to choose ternet can help. bloggers and citizen journalists. veloping democracies around the world funding. But or certification of any kind. These are not easy questions. operat- less of who does it. Fierce debates right to a private life or. as an American over whether journalists can be crimi. [ Media Law ] attempt to stop the press from publish. “to be let alone. the term “transparency” has become a watch- word in civil society. and governance. lish classified information. But universal access to knowledge over ignorance and truth information raises new issues about se. Nor are tain safety and security? there easy answers. jurist once wrote. such as the ing classified information. and the definition of ing with gusto but without prior training state secrets is an expansive one. is it right for journalists to pub. Both public and pri- lenged. Transparency Doing so means that one is being chal- D espite these concerns. counterpoint to the mainstream media. to other fundamental rights. But de- forthcoming about their operations. especially But will their tendency to challenge con- when it is claimed that doing so will alert ventions and flout the rules lead to great- terrorists to surveillance techniques and er attempts to regulate the press? undermine intelligence efforts to main. In China. unidentified and seemingly ungovernable theft of state secrets is a crime regard. copyrighted information. and outraged—every single day. disturbed. Ironically. A free press is fallible and at times vate institutions are exhorted to be more fails to live up to its potential. There is no even assuming that they do not break question that they contribute a lively the law. disrupted. some regard the technology that maxi- mizes access to information as a threat —Jane Kirtley [ 5 ] . The digitiza. dismayed. over propaganda by embracing the ideal curity and privacy. But I know I couldn’t live without it.” nally prosecuted under espionage laws Add to this volatile mix the legions of arise periodically. difficulties of protecting proprietary or It is not easy to live with a free press. for example. demonstrate every day that they have tion of data and the ubiquity of the In. and it compounds the of a free press. It is not easy to live with a free press.

… U n i v er sa l D ecl a r ation of H u m a n R ights United Nations 1948 [6] . justice and peace in the world.[ A Good Environment for Fostering Journalists ] Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom.

that absolute language is qual- receive and impart information ified further in this convention: [ 7 ] . Civil law nations like Germany and France often adopt detailed and pre- cise statutory schemes that govern the rights. society respects and enforces the rule of Article 29 then qualifies this right as: law. good journalism flourishes where regardless of frontiers. Regardless of the particular legal ap. even if these laws do not always directly address journalists. including Confu. In common law nations like the United Kingdom and the United States. pronounces in without interference by public author- Article 19 that: ity and regardless of frontiers. and obligations of journalists. a mix of stat- utes. [ Media Law | Handbook ] A G ood Env i ronment for Fos ter i ng Jour nal i s t s ational legal systems vary. just requirements of morality. public order and the general welfare in a International Standards democratic society. Milton. The work of legal. includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek. Article 10 of the European Con- vention on Human Rights states: certain legitimate grounds for the state’s Everyone has the right to freedom of restriction of free expression. I nternational standards supply guar- antees of free expression. and respect for the rights and free- lectual underpinning for contemporary dom of others and of meeting the media law and media ethics. regulations. supplies the intel. This right shall include versal Declaration of Human Rights. and impart information and ideas eral Assembly in 1948. freedom to hold opinions and to receive proclaimed by the United Nations Gen. But these standards also typically acknowledge Similarly. Rousseau. this right ing. and philosophical thinkers. among others. du- ties. …determined by law solely for the cius. Meiklejohn. The Uni. television or cinema enterprises. and purpose of securing due recognition Mill. and case law establishes broad legal prin- ciples that encompass press freedom. and ideas through any media and proach. However. theoretical. This Article shall not prevent States from Everyone has the right to freedom requiring the licensing of broadcast- of opinion and expression. expression.

Above: Freedom of the press is explicitly protected under the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights in the U. Article 25 of the Belgian Constitution. provides that: der or crime. Many international documents.S. territorial integrity or pub- N ational constitutions also frequently guarantee press freedom. and impartiality of the judiciary. restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law National Standards and are necessary in a democratic society. [ A Good Environment for Fostering Journalists ] The exercise of these freedoms. For exam- ple. may be subject to such for. nor printer. The details differ. for the protection of The press is free. or of the press. nor distributor can be prosecuted. and the American Conven. The First Amendment to the United ventions. is known and resident in Belgium. in the interests of national security. for the prevention of disor. or for maintaining the authority neither the publisher. ing an establishment of religion. authors. When the author information received in confidence. since right. security from of the reputation or rights of others. among them the International similarly absolute: Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. compelling societal interests. [8] . Congress shall make no law respect- the African Charter on Human and Peo. malities. ratified in 1791. con. and treaties embrace a similar States Constitution. enacted laws tailored to protect equally bilities. which dates from 1831. but all recognize speech. prohibiting the free exercise there- tion on Human Rights. Constitution. is approach. publishers or printers can- for preventing the disclosure of not be demanded. or ples’ Rights. as well as many of. lic safety. for the protection never be established. but one that can be limited by duly it carries with it duties and responsi. or the right freedom of expression as a fundamental of the people peaceably to assemble. censorship can health or morals. conditions. or abridging the freedom of others.

where President Barack Obama � mandatory pre-publication review. Article tions. Arti- Restrictions to the exercise of cle 20(d) of the Constitution of Spain rights and freedoms is allowed by states. not far from the Pen- � compulsory licensing schemes. regulations. expression as absolute. would ordinarily be granted to other businesses or citizens. where propaganda and the tional order. tagon. pling to the ability of a news organization ject to the limitation imposed by laws and to operate as any prior restraint. It is probably fair to say that no coun.. the public is eager to learn a vari- and freedoms shall not be affected. can be as intimidating and crip- freedom of expression and opinion “sub.” For example. The government? As a result.” Similarly. ing to police scanners. freedoms of other persons. Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic ex. CNN also used the � extraordinary taxes or fees. the promulgation of falsehoods were common- essence of constitutional rights place. [ Media Law | Handbook ] and to petition the Government for � withdrawal of legal protection that a redress of grievances. was attending commemorative services. what initially appeared Laws That Discourage Journalists to be a fact may turn out to be false. ety of facts from many different sources. be accurate. D. 2009. “The rights are recognized and the Constitution and laws of the protected…of freely sending or receiving Kyrgyz Republic only for the pur- true information by any medium” [em- poses of ensuring the rights and phasis added].S. Article 36(1) of the More subtle. Some au- free” but then qualifies that statement in tocratic countries and democracies re- Article 17(2): quire that the press publish “checked facts” or “the truth. truth will change over time. Coast Guard had opened fire on take many forms: a suspicious vessel in the Potomac River in Washington. territorial integ- porting is understandable. And it is a basic tenet of ethical journal- try in the world regards the cherished ism that no reporter wants knowingly to universal or fundamental right of free disseminate an untruth.C. are mandates that impose certain duties plicitly declares that the “mass media are or responsibilities on the press. when the CNN and Fox cable television networks reported that threat to a free press. As a breaking news story unfolds. but equally problematic. It is subject to But requiring accuracy only raises more limitation and modification when com. questions: What is truth? Who decides? peting rights are deemed to outweigh it. Censorship can the U. For example. some press freedom laws can Certainly all journalists should aim to weaken rather than strengthen the pro. social-networking application Twitter to [ 9 ] . In former dic- rity and protection of constitu- tatorships. But often the perception of tections afforded a free press. public Government desire for accurate re- safety and order. But in doing so. Other national constitutions acknowl- edge the right of free expression but do not The threat of post-publication sanc- regard it as absolute. such as criminal fines or incarcer- 8 of the Senegal Constitution guarantees ation. C ensorship—government-imposed restraint on freedom of speech and expression—poses the greatest single A spectacular example occurred on September 11. � imposition of gag orders during the Relying on information obtained by listen- pendency of a legal proceeding.

organizations walk when reporting break. their viewers. With issues denying the Holocaust. the pressure to be first with a story is intense. or readers? The Coast Guard did not apologize for its Punishment may also await those part in the incident. [ A Good Environment for Fostering Journalists ] report. not an attack. Security Council in 1996 called on Rwanda fore we report things like this. White House Press ciding what is true. the U. works for causing panic. where not only mainstream media. to review the facts that were part of a routine training exer. not stated. checking to identify and close radio stations it con- would be good. but bloggers and other “citizen journalists” can observe and report events instantly. The old Associ- ated Press maxim. Should CNN and Fox have been subject to government sanction for having made a good-faith error in their reporting? In the United States. listeners. or of the took almost 30 minutes for the networks public. the answer would be “no. of Armenians during World War I as geno- dia for rushing to disseminate the story. from a wide variety of sources before de- cise. to define and interpret the facts? to determine that they had overheard The reality is that journalism is only one open radio transmissions—during which means of ascertaining truth. locaust occurred. observing. In Turkey. In a free so- personnel made “bang bang” noises and ciety. who challenge the accepted wisdom con- ise that it would review both “our proce. a violation of the Ger- trates the difficult tightrope that news man Criminal Code. Holocaust denial is a specific criminal of- like global warming or the financial or fense in several European countries. “Coast Guard confronts boat as health crises. acts of mass violence there. the neo-Nazi Ernst Zündel suggesting that the networks should was imprisoned in Germany after pub- have withheld it until they were able to lishing statements denying that the Ho- verify the details. the facts emerge more grad- Obama visits Pentagon. but get it right. lisher of Did Six Million Really Die?. other than to prom.N.” it is a crime to refer to the mass killings Commentators criticized the news me. cide. In 2007. In an increasingly competitive when the government declares what the media marketplace. A corollary to the problem is created ing news. it had con. was handed the maximum allow- able sentence under German law in 2007 for inciting hatred and ancies were quickly resolved. “We have expended ten rounds”— a governmental entity. Secretary Robert Gibbs chided the net. As troubling as the Coast Guard inci. The case raised tacted the Coast Guard’s public affairs an important question: Should the media office and been told that the Coast Guard be held responsible for the violent acts of was unaware of any activity on the river. Above: Ernst Zündel. In one prominent example. police scanner ually. “Be. But this example illus. How can journalists determine the reports say shots fired.” But in other countries. such a mistake might lead to a fine or the loss of a license.” seems almost quaint in a 24/7 world. at least the factual discrep. cerning historical incidents.” CNN claimed that be. author of The Hitler We Love and Why and pub- dent may be. dures and the timing of this exercise.” truth at any given point? And what is the The Chicago Tribune reported that it responsibility of the government. it is up to members of the public. tended had fomented hatred and incited fore reporting the incident. [ 10 ] . “Get it first.

whose novel The Satanic Leonard Sussman of the New York-based Above: Flemming Rose. poli. or a particular race or religion. center. lished editorial cartoons depicting the Dozens of countries throughout the world. in February 1989. national Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten pub- symbols. The car toon sparked heated public debate about the balance between satire and censorship. British House of Lords vote to abolish the easily manipulated by governments to common law crimes of blasphemy and punish dissent and to silence criticism. the Iranian A nother mechanism to discourage journalists is the use of compulsory government licensing. Africa. or other public officials. But. blasphemous libel. against Islam. and on the lives of the cartoonist followed. commissioned the controversial cartoons caricaturing the Prophet Mohammad published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005. tified as helping to ensure that only those meini issued a fatwa offering a bounty with appropriate qualifications engage for the death of the British author Sal. was charged. Again blasphemy including some in the European Union. Latin America. have enacted such stat. Most noto- riously. [ Media Law | Handbook ] truth is in the enactment of insult laws Verses Khomeini declared “blasphemous that prohibit criticism of monarchs. it is invariably both broad and vague. as man Rushdie. in the profession of journalism.” In September 2005. [ 11 ] . Blasphemy charges are not leveled only utes. by Muslims. Asia. Although the precise language var. the ticians. Not until July 2008 did the ies. Compulsory Licensing tions crosses national boundaries or is initiated by non-state actors. This usually is jus- spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Kho. Violent protests and threats former Soviet Union. Prophet Mohammad. Another dimension arises when the effort to suppress unwelcome publica.

justifies greater government interfer. subject only to licensing both determines who may be a laws of general applicability governing ex- journalist and circumscribes the parame. Even mature democra- governmental authority will be the “traffic cies. broadcast on without relying on newspapers. monitored franchises are limited in number and scope individuals’ activities on the Internet. have blocked access to Web sites based on By their very nature. troversial material. when. it is self-censorship and less publication of con- said.” The uniquely pelled to publish replies. if concerning her that she deems false. tary. “Governmental ence in content.S. including Australia. ters of acceptable reporting and commen. it encourages self-censorship and stifles dissent and debate. in the words of the Communications otherwise would not. of the press belongs to the man who owns hibiting the free flow of information. In short. an enforceable right of reply to an article owned public broadcasting. [ A Good Environment for Fostering Journalists ] Freedom House writes. Regulation and the Internet Even in countries where any individual has the right to engage in journalism. and within a particular geographical area. government efforts to control in- formation appear. invasion of privacy.” Government tonomy as the print media. some argue. Liebling. in the words of New Yorker maga- es who will be allowed to operate the elec. India. and television stations and newspapers mercial media predominate. including Internet. anyone unprecedented ability to communicate might. to use one example.J. Saudi Arabia. In one. inac- not impossible. there is a real danger of in. When editors tone Act of 1934 (U. may be subject to compulsory licensing. and cop” that allocates operating frequencies the United States. it is difficult. cable. and Tunisia. or even print news organizations China. or any other traditional media. the result is more pervasive nature of electronic media. a On the one hand. Iran. of cable or Internet service providers. imposed stringent restrictions on Internet Most countries have concluded that some service providers. broad- licensing of the press is the old blunder. for independent media to curate. “Freedom tronic media. ganization has an obligation to be fair. pression. France. those who seek to operate broadcast. casters should enjoy the same editorial au- buss of censoring weapons. in “the public interest. Even so. The secure a place in the broadcast spectrum. and obscenity. The Internet provides individuals an Without this type of licensing. logic of these laws is that because radio In nations where privately owned com. the free exchange about how much the state may inquire of ideas requires that they provide those into programming and editorial decisions who disagree an opportunity to be heard. On the other hand.” Some countries grant an individual some countries with a tradition of state. As a U. broadcast statutory right of reply usurps a news airwaves are a public resource that should organization’s editorial authority by re- be operated essentially as a public service quiring an editor to publish material he or. But many The result would be complete cacophony countries retain legislation from the era and chaos. have blocked access to or in the broadcast spectrum.). or assigns to punished publication of online material that certain operators the “natural monopoly” they deem to be objectionable. when reviewing initial license applications Predicated on the idea that a news or- or renewals remains a nagging problem. such as libel. W ith each new medium of communica- tion. or misleading. defamatory.S. zine contributor A. when the state choos. questions are in the hands of a few. down their coverage to avoid being com- convenience or necessity. the same radio frequency as his neighbor. television. Some countries. broadcast and cable their political or cultural content. Supreme [ 12 ] .

which empow. these seemingly reason- to anyone who considers herself wronged. The challenge is to strike a balance between legitimate competing interests. able restrictions are utilized as a means of Compelled publication arguably is anoth. In 2009. Competing Interests inevitably trump other fundamental val- T he most insidious aspect of censor- ship is that at first glance it can seem justifiable. these hard questions. to restrict the dissemination of unpopular opinions and ideas. classified material in the name of mental regulation in matters affecting protecting national security? the exercise of journalistic judgment as � Why shouldn’t a court be allowed to what should be printed. news organization from publishing lic utility subject to ‘reasonable’ govern. the European caster refrain from airing footage Parliament adopted a Council of Europe that would reveal intimate personal recommendation that a right of reply be information. In 2006. [ Media Law | Handbook ] Court justice wrote. child who has been sexually abused? cil argued that the physical limitations � Why shouldn’t a licensing board of space and time that exist in conven- have the authority to stop the distri- tional forms of media like newspapers or bution of a book or film that it deems television do not apply in cyberspace. to grant a right to reply all too frequently. or reasonable. The coun. contrary to public morality? lowering drastically the cost of affording a reply privilege. This is not to suggest Balancing Legitimate that freedom of the press will. restricting press freedoms and ultimately er form of censorship. Regardless of how a society resolves including bloggers and posters on social. in a case striking � Why shouldn’t a government au- down a Florida state right-of-reply statute. thority have the power to stop a “A newspaper or magazine is not a pub. or should. ues. such as the identity of a imposed on the online media.” to prohibit a journalist from report- Ironically. This is not an easy task. the Philippine � Why shouldn’t laws proscribing legislature was considering bills requir. the danger is that. racist or “hate” speech be upheld? ing anyone who speaks on the Internet. ing the prior criminal history of a ers anyone with access to be a publisher. defendant facing a murder charge? has nevertheless encouraged right-of-reply � Why shouldn’t an individual have measures directed at bloggers and other the right to demand that a broad- digital journalists. [ 13 ] . networking sites. the Internet.

jurist. and professor 1723–1780 [ 14 ] . [ A Framework for a Free Press ] The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state: but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications. Willi a m B l ackston e English judge. and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published.

government stifles compelling interest adequately. � It should be demonstrated that stone would prohibit government from the order will actually advance censoring speech. identified. “The liberty on the press. protection from compelled disclosure of information.” ered proper: Blackstone’s was an important distinc- tion. ate a press and what he could publish. These might include no prior restraint. No prior restraint Only rarely does a country go so far T as Blackstone advocated by absolutely he 18th-century English jurist Wil- outlawing any and all previous restraints liam Blackstone argued. Black. whatever he chose to disseminate. limits on government licensing of journalists and news organizations. � The order should be precise in But in Blackstone’s view. [ 15 ] . � The order should be narrowly was the quintessential abridgement of tailored and no broader in scope free expression. We will examine here a of the press is indeed essential to the na- number of types of restraints that are ture of a free state: but this consists in recognized as lawful in many countries. the right to gather and publish newsworthy information about individuals. the right to criticize government officials and public figures. [ Media Law | Handbook ] A F ramew ork for a F ree P ress useful starting point as we set out to create a frame- work for a free press is to consider what rights are essential in order for journalists to do their jobs. laying no previous restraints upon publi- Below are the circumstances under cations. By stopping speech even than necessary to address the before it is uttered. to control both who could oper. The English government’s power to � A compelling interest should be license. discussion and dissent. and not in freedom from censure which a prior restraint might be consid- for criminal matter when published. and only narrow and carefully tailored restrictions on indecent or obscene speech. or avert the identified harm. but he would still allow the compelling interest asserted sanctions to be imposed after publication. the right of access to government information and court proceedings. the publisher its terms and as limited in dura- would properly bear the responsibility for tion as possible.

Nixon sought a judicial re- � obscene or immoral material. heavy presumption against its constitu- Above: (from the right)Reporter Neil Sheehan. What types of interests might be suf- government officials can be tempted to ficiently compelling to justify a prior re- invoke national security to justify ex- straint? Such interests could include. government documents about American involvement in the Vietnam War. referred to as the Pentagon Papers case. among others: The Supreme Court of the United � confidential or proprietary busi. no journalist nity to be heard to contest it should wants to undermine national security be provided prior to imposition. M. v. excerpts of classified U. Richard M. [ A Framework for a Free Press ] � Notice of the order and an opportu. Managing Editor A. often � highly intimate personal infor. Greenfield formed part of the New York Times team responsible for publishing the Pentagon Papers. by disseminating information that poses a genuine threat. Rosenthal. The Supreme Court ruled against But probably the most frequently in. On the one hand. the administration of President or prosecution. United States (1971). lishing excerpts of classified documents � information pertaining to an about the American involvement in Viet- on-going criminal investigation nam. Times Co. and Foreign News Editor James L. On the other hand. After the New York Times began pub- � copyrighted material. straining order to stop further publica- tion. mation. restraints comes to this Court bearing a This poses a genuine dilemma for jour. [ 16 ] . the government. nalists. “Any system of prior voked justification is national security.S. pansive censorship. States considered this issue in New York ness information.

The Court did nologists.I. geoning new media pose a significant ob- den of showing justification for the stacle to the effective imposition of a prior imposition of such a restraint. the case of the proclaimed mission was to “reveal uneth- Pentagon Papers has created a virtually ical behavior in…governments and cor- insurmountable barrier to government. the book after Dynadot placed restrictions on the circulated widely in Australia. and even in site. users worldwide could still reach it Scotland. a federal judge in into the Court’s reasoning. Never documents. growth of the Internet. this page is Other types of gag orders. not even in the post-9/11 environment. the bur- ment had failed to meet the “heavy bur. a part of Great Britain not cov. an injunction preserve. the press coverage of the injunction had The exception is Britain.” Wikileaks allowed users to imposed censorship on national security publish anonymously a wide variety of grounds in the United States. not say that it never could. An example is the Wikileaks The brief opinion provided little insight case. Today.. were ultimately futile. Ger- ies poured into England from these and many. where the book. only increased public attention to the and comment on it. only know that the government did not journalists. injunctions. The site claimed it was not responsible Given the limits of territorial jurisdic. blank—and the law is an ass. mathematicians and…tech- meet its burden in this case. For Wikileaks materials. from the U. Europe. Cop. “It is clear that in all but the most there no longer were any secrets left to exceptional circumstances. At the height of the controversy. for the content of materials that users tion.” British editions of The Economist maga. restricting speech is impermissible.” the Court noted and The Spycatcher case predated the concluded that in this case the govern. [ Media Law | Handbook ] tional validity. and read the documents by accessing ered by the writ of the English court. mirror sites registered in Belgium. He also ob- zine ran a blank page with this notation: served that his initial order had not only “In all but one country. In February 2008. and confi- publish national security information. operating manuals prior restraint on the media’s ability to for Guantanamo Bay prison. While an the New York Times reported that even English court did ban publication. a former MI5 agent’s to block access to the documents. if any. immediately government’s attempts to restrict the pub. Australia and South Africa. porations. to lock and disable the domain name and lication of Spycatcher.” and restraining orders will be discussed [ 17 ] . and the Christmas Islands.S. But memoirs. Eventually the English weeks after the initial injunction had courts were forced to lift their ban on the been issued. such as rules of engagement since has the Supreme Court upheld a for American troops. Taiwan. The injunction ordered Dynadot. our readers have been ineffective but “had exactly the op- on this page a review of ‘Spycatcher. dential Swiss bank account information. We have been founded by “Chinese dissidents. have been banned. the same federal judge lifted grounds that publication elsewhere meant it. it has always been challenging for the posted on its site.” restraint.000 readers there. In the late 1980s. Two other jurisdictions. Peter Wright. government of a particular country to im. the pose a restraint that will be truly effective California company that had registered worldwide.’ a posite effect as was intended” because book by an ex-M. a Web site that claims to future case justify a prior restraint. It is difficult to California issued a permanent injunction discern what conditions. might in a on Wikileaks.” whose self- Practically speaking.5 man. our 420. Judge Jeffrey White wrote. the British Wikileaks’s domain name.

The case involved re. especially given that the sources that their identities will remain source had. The Convention unless it is justified by company claimed that the material had an overriding requirement in the been stolen and obtained an injunction public interest. journalists will protect and the ability of the press to provide their sources. [ A Framework for a Free Press ] in more detail in the appropriate sec. United society and the potentially chilling Kingdom (1996). may be adversely affected. freedom. the ability of the press to scrutinize ing the right of journalists to keep sourc- government and to uncover corruption es confidential: would be severely compromised. protect the fruits of their news gathering The court ruled in favor of Goodwin. outweigh the public’s interest in protect- leges. House of Lords upheld the order. only exceptional circumstances could justify compelling him to testify. Other international and regional bodies. where he Protection from Compelled argued that under Article 10 of the Eu- Disclosure of Information ropean Convention on Human Rights T he right of a journalist to protect con- fidential sources and unpublished in- formation from disclosure is essential to (ECHR). promise of confidentiality will not be As a result. est justified recognizing the privilege in porters must be able to assure their this situation. They must also be able to formation to Goodwin. such a measure cannot be information from a source whose identi. A journalist who violates a public on matters of public interest. this sources may be deterred from as- is both a matter of honor and a pragmat. but the decision has been influen- terests of justice” so that it could take tial even outside the European Union. as well as an order under the Con. at worst. the British government con- promoting both the free flow of informa. tended that no compelling public inter- tion and the public’s right to know. from scrutiny by government or private finding that the company’s interest in entities in order to maintain their edito. Having The rationale for recognizing a re. ity of their sources. compatible with Article 10 of the ty he had agreed to keep secret. restraining publication of the informa- tion. even if it means facing accurate and reliable information contempt of court. Protection of journalistic sources is Most media codes of ethics require one of the basic conditions for press that journalists protect the confidential. acted irresponsibly secret in order to encourage them to in providing the proprietary business in- speak freely. [ 18 ] . After the Court of Appeal and the tions below. For its part. pursuing the source was not sufficient to rial independence. legal action against the source. the vital public-watchdog trusted by other sources in the future. has on the exercise of that free- ceived a company’s confidential financial dom. All countries that are parties to tempt of Court Act to compel Goodwin ECHR are bound by the Goodwin deci- to reveal his source’s identity “in the in. regard to the importance of the porter’s privilege was persuasively set protection of journalistic sources forth by the European Court of Human for press freedom in a democratic Rights (ECtHR) in Goodwin v. For a reporter. who had re. Re. Without these privi. …Without such protection. Good- win appealed to the ECtHR. effect an order of source disclosure porter William Goodwin. role of the press may be undermined For this reason. sisting the press in informing the ic necessity. sion.

courts have ruled the national laws. the precise contours of a journalistic “The likely effect of revealing a journal. protect their sources. In In the United States.” Sweden’s Freedom co. or if an accused person dem.gov/publications/ sources is an essential part of freedom of books/outline-of-u.” the court said. been left to the individual states. Court found that Article 21 of the consti. the Ontario lege.” Although it declined to find an Commission on Human and People’s absolute privilege governing all confiden- Rights. would supply broad answers to the fol- ward other potential sources who. such Armenia. also protects “the freedom of to pass (as of summer 2010). More common are national laws that rec- tional constitution. have issued declarations recog.S. but has failed pression. privilege is included in the constitution.-legal-system. either absolute or qualified in scope. rived from constitutional provisions. further information on the roles of fed- tial municipal investigative reports con. the Supreme states. Congress has considered. whatever reason. federal leg- gathering news. among them Mexi- sional investigation. course of reporting. for example. these statutes can be that the journalist’s privilege may be de. which guarantees freedom of ex. Mozambique. Some other nations have by statute For example. for lowing questions: [ 19 ] . countries. although 39 2006 in Japan. should be used only as a last resort. to a limited number of exceptions. statutory protection has sent may be prosecuted. Indonesia.” as well as the reporting islation recognizing a reporter’s privi- of news. the journalist’s ful of the competing rights at stake. Legal System. In some case. the court neverthe- tain the confidentiality of their sources less recognized that the contempt power and unpublished information. the Constitution of Palau granted journalists a privilege to avoid says. In Canada in 2008. cerning a nonprofit nursing home. an effective privilege “would be to discourage from coming for.america. and Turkey. eral and state laws and court systems. including Germany and the nalist who reveals a source without con.s. that the right to protect confidential http://www. It ruled see Outline of the U. mind- In some countries. which is part of the na. information sought is directly related to onstrates that the information sought is a heinous criminal case when the public essential for her defense in a criminal interest in disclosure is strong. tial communications obtained in the nizing the right of journalists to main. (For to disclose the source of leaked confiden. Although each society will work out dian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. of the Press Act. for example. have enacted journalists’ shield laws. provides an expan. “No bona fide reporter may be re. quired by the government to divulge or About 20 countries have adopted legisla- be jailed for refusal to divulge informa. need to conceal their sion on Human Rights and the African identity. The law also provides that a jour.) expression as recognized under the Cana. privilege against compelled disclosure ist’s confidential source. of information. Like In other countries. which may sive privilege for journalists. United States. testifying under specified circumstances. grants the privi- as if the source is suspected of espionage lege but withdraws it in cases where the or treason. [ Media Law | Handbook ] including the Inter-American Commis. plus the District of Columbia. This means that state shield laws Court of Appeal struck down a finding of apply in some state court proceedings contempt against a reporter who refused but not in the federal court system. subject only be overcome under certain situations. ognize a qualified privilege. tion giving journalists absolute rights to tion obtained in the course of a profes. tution.

But what happens when as bloggers and others who dissemi. most effective privilege would not War correspondents face many special be limited to those in the print and challenges. after Randal had tapes. arguing that being compelled to testify � The information is unobtainable would compromise his ability to gather from any other nonjournalistic news in war zones and could endanger source after all reasonable alter- his personal safety were sources to per- natives have been exhausted. � The information sought is mate. writing. “War correspondents [ 20 ] . Washington Post reporter cover not only the identity of Jonathan C. It defined war interest in disclosure outweighs correspondents as “individuals. to the public. to the Chamber recognized a qualified testi- disposition of the underlying case monial privilege for war correspondents. ceive him as a potential witness. dependence. a Serbian nationalist. When does another interest out. whom he quoted in an article on ethnic als. on the right to cross-examine Randal. wanted to introduce Randal’s article as lege. report (or investigate of information. ties and is summoned before a war crimes � Which sources does it protect? tribunal to give evidence? A comprehensive privilege would In 1993. conflict zone on issues relating to the lematic. for the purposes of reporting) from a The final element is the most prob. who for the public interest in the free flow any period of time. (such as exonerating evidence for even where their sources are not confi- an accused criminal). or publishing news or al efforts to enact a journalists’ shield information for dissemination law have been stymied for years. slav Brdjanin. Prosecutors In the absence of an absolute privi. retired from journalism. drafts. When the defense insisted good cause. Nations have devised differ. mation and documentary materi. because of fears that terrorists might pensation or not. In December 2002. but the more common the former reporter was subpoenaed to factors include: appear before the court. in part. dential and their information has al- � A judge must find that the public ready been published. It tiality can be essential to protecting these would include book authors. In the United States. government authori- who is practicing journalism— ties often argue that preserving public meaning anyone involved in the safety outweighs protecting editorial in- process of gathering. the journalist is an eyewitness to atroci- nate their work on the Internet. as well journalists’ safety. ent standards. cleansing.” The court acknowledged that weigh the fundamental right to press to do their jobs. Randal resisted. Brdjanin was lished journalistic work product. use it to protect their communications � Is it limited by media platform? The from law enforcement scrutiny. notes. charged with genocide. feder- editing. conflict. Maintaining source confiden- broadcast mainstream media. and other unpub. In- ist to reveal confidential sources and ternational Criminal Tribunal for Yugo- information should be required to show slavia (ICTY). Years later. one who seeks to compel a journal. the Appeals rial. whether for com. such as photographs.N. or absolutely essential. Randal interviewed Rado- sources but also unpublished infor. [ A Framework for a Free Press ] � To whom does it apply? A broad freedom? In cases involving national se- privilege would apply to anyone curity. evidence in the trial before the U. for example.

”The It seems to me self-evident that amount of protection [recognized] is di. in 2004. from “unreasonable es for the Prosecution. a newspaper office: the possibility of sonably be obtained elsewhere.” To compel testimony.S.S. ruled that news organizations enjoy no Although the European Court of Hu- special status under the First Amend.” Court of Appeals ruled searches of jour- A related issue involves the power of nalists’ workplaces appropriate only in governmental authorities to search me. news- newspaper and to seize unpublished pho. Exceptions are times in history…that neutrality is include materials necessary to prevent not neutral but complicit in the crime. it held. may cause to the newsgathering func. or child pornogra- The court needs reporters to stand by phy. had provided a witness’s name to the news forcement searches of its premises. Ed Vulliamy. from confidential sources. … death or serious injury. “I believe that there to the public (i. or of the Although more than 30 international identity of the sources themselves. the who also covered the war in Bosnia and U. materials in the possession bedrock of the journalists’ profession: of persons intending to disseminate them neutrality. the Independent Commission tween police officers and demonstrators Against Corruption in Hong Kong obtained who had seized and occupied the Stan. Stanford Daily moting the interests of justice and. to enter the office of a university student But in other parts of the world. the injury…is physical disruption of the subpoenaing party must show that the newspaper. Justice Potter Stewart threats to their safety and the safety of wrote: their sources. 14 warrants to search newspaper offices ford University hospital. Congress enacted the Privacy Pro- voluntarily testified at the trial of Milan tection Act of 1980. entity would be. and more serious burden…imposed ue in determining a core issue in the by an unannounced police search of case” and that the evidence cannot rea. Similarly. Supreme Court case then. This statute forbids Kovacevic. news organizations supported his ap- peal. not to be executed in a way that challenging the power of police officers would impair the dissemination of news.. Zurcher v. a British journalist In response to the majority ruling. ple. Although the and journalists’ homes. both federal and local law enforcement tion was wrong. “At the root of the Wash.” may face more frequent and grievous In dissent. journalists). as any other servers rather than as potential witness. even (1978) was a U. although they would be protected es violate Article 10 of the European [ 21 ] . The commission student newspaper argued that the First sought the identity of an individual who Amendment protected it from law en. argued that Randal’s posi. the organization. The most immediate and obvious… tion. authorities from seizing documentary. the New Zealand their stories on oath. police searches of newspaper offices rectly proportional to the harm that it burden the freedom of the press.e. or ington Post’s objection is the supposed work product. man Rights holds that newsroom search- ment. they searches and seizures. disclosure of information received Randal’s case was a controversial one. Otherwise. [ Media Law | Handbook ] must be perceived as independent ob.” The tribunal ruled. by the Fourth Amendment. in 1995. exceptional cases when essential to pro- dia offices. room searches occur frequently.” he wrote. For exam- tographs of a violent confrontation be. …But there is another evidence is of “direct and important val. The Court of Appeal ruled majority opinion by Justice Byron White these searches justified.

rhetoric. journalists’ access to govern- These laws typically afford journalists ment information is an essential tool for no less. intercepting journal. The journalist who sets � Access allows the public to tap out to exercise her right to know may find into the vast quantities of govern. By helping to check improper But the reality often falls short of the conduct. Individual nations decide wheth- able anticorruption tool and helps er and how they will implement these build public trust. policies are made and implemented. to any information that is required ment proceedings and information to assist in the fight against corrup- important? tion and related offenses. In short. the Law on Pro. thority to intercept communications through wiretapping and similar means. information. And in Belgium. Civil and Political Rights guaran- tection of Journalists’ Sources imposes tees the right to seek. In short. by 40 of the 53 members of the AU.S. a few countries Many international agreements em- do grant the news media special protec. but also no more. by the public’s tax dollars. information paid for Austria and Germany are two excep. � Article 19 of both the Universal ists’ communications for the purpose of Declaration of Human Rights and uncovering professional secrets is a the International Covenant on crime. receive. ent. In Georgia. [ 22 ] . Supreme Court justice once treaties. and many other U. protection than building and maintaining democracy. a treaty signed independence. tions. [ A Framework for a Free Press ] Convention on Human Rights. right of freedom of information. freedom of information laws and declarations recognize free- allow citizens to find out “what the dom of information as a funda- government is up to” in the pres- mental human right. As a Human Rights. with the German Constitutional � When journalists can obtain public Court ruling in February 2007 that records. and also what it did in the past. The Right of Access to says. This phrase on an attempt to compel disclosure of a has been construed to include a confidential source. there is broad recognition � Article 9 of the African Union (AU) that protecting journalists’ confidenti- Convention on Preventing and Com- ality is essential to maintaining their bating Corruption. the experience a challenging one. conventions. port on government actions and ac- Antiterrorism laws adopted in much tivities. and the same restrictions on surveillance as impart information. lofty principles. they need not rely on the these searches violate constitutional whims of a government source to re- freedom of speech protections. many ment-collected and -maintained European countries still permit them. brace and promote transparency: tion. the Arab Charter on accountable to its citizens. wrote. access serves as a valu. and they can better disclose of the world since 2001 have expanded how tax dollars are spent and how law enforcement and intelligence au. “Each State Party shall adopt Government Information such legislation and other measures and Proceedings to give effect to the right of access W hy is the right of access to govern. agreements.” � The Organization of American � Access helps keep government States. other citizens. However.

1966. reasonably M ost freedom of information laws share common principles and char- acteristics. among many others. of Investigation and the Central Intelli- gence Agency. and some older to state and local executive branch agen- constitutions have been amended to in. the highest courts in just journalists. agencies. aged to utilize government reading and Israel. of Information Act (FOIA). special form is necessary to file a FOIA request—just a simple letter. less so in Asia. FOIA federal statute. Un. not explicit language. Johnson signed of records an agency can withhold. and decision-making process). Justice. should be narrowly construed: of access to existing records. Despite U. In the United States. so we will however. and government-controlled as working papers. addressed Freedom of Information Laws to the pertinent FOIA officer. and access is open to all. Most agen- cies are prepared to accept requests in writing or electronically. The FOIA into law on July 4. Many recent examples were describing the records sought. for example. that handle intelligence and security. provisions in their new constitutions. the statute does not actually under the terms of the statute and based create a right of access to information. does not list covered agencies by name. as tional right in about 80 countries. is judicial branches of government. Requesters are encour- some countries. have found a right of access rooms. federal Freedom Despite the presumption of openness. [ 23 ] . In the United States. But the trend is definite. and Africa. digital form. anyone can make a FOIA request. ies prepared as part of the agency’s the Departments of State. cy records are covered by state open- clude a right to know. But the U. cess request. democracies in Central and Eastern Eu. tion law includes exemptions—categories President Lyndon B. � records made secret by another like laws in countries like Ireland. Neither U. citizenship nor residency is Even when the constitution contains no required. released under so-called E-FOIA initia- More than 70 additional countries have tives or disclosed in response to an earlier enacted freedom of information statutes. [ Media Law | Handbook ] Freedom of information is a constitu. FOIA request. Swe. which. Defense. den’s 1766 press law. influenced by the U. may be available before filing a formal ac- ly toward greater transparency in govern. often considered FOIA covers neither the legislative nor the first freedom of information act. They are also invited to These are well established in Europe and contact the agency FOIA officer to dis- the Americas. reports. departments. to gain free access to records already freedom of the press or expression. the Middle cuss informally what types of records East.S. no ment around the world. regulatory com- � internal agency memoranda (such missions. nearly every freedom of informa- use that statute as an example. held by executive branch � internal agency rules/practices. it establishes a presumptive right tice.S. its name. in paper or � national security. Many developing government laws. Japan. These include. as in most coun- rope and Latin America include access tries. Access part of its constitution. including Korea. on guidance from the Department of Jus- Rather. � some law enforcement records. as well as the Federal Bureau � trade secrets. in the United Kingdom. nor does it categorically exclude bodies � bank records.S. FOIA has nine exemptions.S. either brick-and-mortar or virtu- to information implicit in the right of al. and stud- corporations.

requiring staffers to comply with strict new rules and in many countries. but not always. states. agencies frequently invoke the pri- tion to appeal to a special review board vacy exemptions as grounds to withhold that will determine whether a previously many government records. and employees who willfully withhold or because of speculative or abstract fears. because errors and failures might be revealed. These [ 24 ] . would constitute gories of information. that means filing a lawsuit in a federal district court. 2009.” records in violation of the law.S.S. United States. if revealed. and in most countries. or to an independent tribunal or informa- tion commission. the disclosure outweighs any harm. A successful requester may be able to obtain not only the records but attor- Above: U. the requester may appeal to a freedom of information ombudsman. access laws include specific � records containing information prohibitions on withholding certain cate- that. In a memo released that day. January 21. records Most of these exemptions are not man- properly classified in accordance with a datory. requesters have the op- tion. emptions are sometimes vague and dif- In some countries. In the case of more personally identifiable informa- classified records. Agencies may release records if presidential executive order can be with- they conclude that the public interest in held. and the tendency for most records custodians is to withhold the record if there is any doubt. President Obama wrote: “The Government should not keep infor. an unwarranted invasion of Although the United States does not personal privacy. This im- and to withhold only the exempt portion of poses new obstacles to citizens seeking any record while releasing the balance. Under FOIA. This tactic sometimes. A requester denied access to a record has a right to appeal. In other countries. as well. These ex- classified record can now be made public. with subsequent appeals as necessary through the federal appellate courts and even to the Supreme Court. In the United States. although not in the ficult to interpret. a final review can be sought in the national courts. she begins by seeking an internal review within the agency. President Barack Obama signed five executive orders on ney’s fees. both intelligence and law enforcement The necessity of withholding a particular records. They practice of classifying information has must be prepared to justify any exemption increased in much of the world. results in release of the records. In some U. have an official secrets act of the type found in many other countries. Even in those jurisdic- tions. and in some of the individual states in the United States. In the post-9/11 environment. The next step is to submit the appeal for external review. And as governments collect record may evolve over time. [ A Framework for a Free Press ] � oil and gas well data. pose sanctions on government agencies mation confidential merely because public officials might be embar- rassed by disclosure. courts can im- on the Freedom of Information Act.

reported in 2007 that the to pay all applicable costs. as where a journalist presumption of public access. payment for administrative costs. American soldier Ron Ridenhour was largely responsible for uncovering the massacre at My Lai in 1968 by gathering eyewitness accounts and sending letters to 30 members of Congress and to Pentagon officials. waivers. even a jail sentence if tries (although not the United States) the violation is particularly egregious. the press. in- sources. even if they do Lai in Viet Nam to unsanitary conditions Above: U. Under the set short deadlines for initial responses U. FOIA. a requester may be thousands of stories.S. but commercial requesters (not ganization that conducts research on ac. Some coun- and. Others demand sure. [ Media Law | Handbook ] sanctions can include monetary fines not fulfill the entire request. regardless of the size Even where the law requires disclo. redaction of exempt delays. certain categories of request- but allow additional time to handle com. including the general public and the plex requests.S. lack of re. Most freedom of information laws information. assess a filing fee. including the news media) are required cess policy. which are de- oldest pending FOIA request was 20 termined by the agency according to a years old. or scope of the request. fee schedule. ers. a private or. and copying. or inefficiency may result in cluding search time. FOIA disclo- demonstrates compelling public interest sures have empowered journalists to write in immediate release. These range from Agencies may be authorized to recoup the revelation of the 1968 massacre at My costs from requesters. In the United States. Under certain Freedom of information laws create a circumstances. are entitled to full or partial fee National Security Archive. in rare cases. administrative backlogs. Ridenhour later became an investigative journalist. some embarrassing entitled to expedited processing. government. although many others are pro. cessed far more quickly.S. to the U. [ 25 ] .

before closing the courtroom. For the parties so require. Some countries. restraining orders are limited strictly necessary in the opinion of to court officials and trial participants. public order or national secu- rity in a democratic society. the Anglo. taining to a case that has been obtained legally by the press cannot be restricted. whether it originated in or out of the Saxon tradition since Magna Carta courtroom. ness or victim during testimony. The Supreme Court ruled in [ 26 ] . the strong tradi- tion against prior restraints makes it almost impossible to persuade a court to the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the issue a gag order on the press. Simply put. In addition. This could include a substan- frequently want to publicize information tial threat to the criminal defendant’s attorneys and the judge would prefer to right to a fair trial or a compelling need keep secret. as well. (1297) has presumed that trials would runs by defense contractors to the most be open in order to protect the rights of dangerous places to work in the United the accused and to ensure accountabili- States. to protect the privacy of a particular wit- Most countries at least tacitly ac. such as Spain and Swe- everyone is entitled to a fair and den. And yet. a separate issue arises concern- Judgment shall be pronounced ing limitations on what journalists may publicly but the press and public report about a pending or ongoing case. in part: sure will be effective. But the Supreme Court also has ruled when journalists set out to report on that a specifically identified state inter- court cases. journalists openness. In the United States particularly. the be presumed open to the press and the presiding judge is required to consider public. whether any alternative will avert the ticle 6 of the European Convention on threat and must also establish that clo- Human Rights provides. may be excluded from all or part Prior Restraints and Gag Orders of the trial in the interest of mor- als. est can outweigh the presumption of sarial relationship. However. a flying objects (UFOs) are based on infor. the court in special circumstances The courts have ruled almost uniformly where publicity would prejudice the that dissemination of information per- interests of justice. from cost over. [ A Framework for a Free Press ] in food-processing plants. tial tribunal established by law. or the extent most part. Many T he official activities of the judiciary have a tremendous impact on and are of great interest to the public. line of Supreme Court cases beginning mation obtained under the FOIA. istration of justice is to take place in public. subject to certain limitations. How- knowledge that court proceedings should ever. it may result in an adver. courts recognize a presumed right of ac- cess to court documents. Ar. right to a fair and public trial and the right of press and public under the First Access to Court Proceedings Amendment to attend that trial. afford similar public hearing within a reasonable constitutional guarantees that the admin- time by an independent and impar. Even features about unidentified ty. among many others. where I n the United States. any In the determination of his civil closure must be narrowly tailored—as rights and obligations or of any brief in scope and duration as possible. criminal charge against him. In common law countries. All in 1980 has construed broadly both a that is required is the persistence to criminal defendant’s Sixth Amendment make use of it.

in- of the government.” Ironically. past criminal record. The judge released most of lowed in many U. state trial courts and the transcripts. In some nations Upon discovering the mistake. Simpson murder trial that protecting the accuser’s privacy and in 1995 in California continues to influ- preserving the ability to prosecute fu. a report commissioned by the Inter- [ 27 ] . tronic media from covering court cases. of justice…regardless of intent to do so. journalists’ own code of conduct speci- tions to “delete and destroy any copies fies that defendants should not be iden- and not reveal any contents thereof. information that was se. or be tified unless “an obvious public interest subject to contempt of Court.” some U. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled the notorious O. In other Professional basketball player Kobe Bry. journalists in these nations those that are imposed. countries. may attend the proceedings but are lim- A rare exception occurred in 2003. and encourage law- protect information that lies within its yers to act inappropriately are just a few control. from the time a sus- never subjected to gag orders. A court clerk accidentally e. as yet. course of justice…will be seriously im- duct of the trial. “It is the responsibility cameras will disrupt the proceedings. leged victim’s last name. ings. noting mine the right to a fair trial—even though that the news organizations had broken Simpson was acquitted. if the order actually peded or prejudiced. tempt anyone who engages in conduct and if no less drastic means would ad. the Su- By contrast. Coverage of court. [ Media Law | Handbook ] 1976 that a gag order would be permis.J. where the law is silent. and the media dropped in the highest appeals courts in a variety their appeal to the U.” nalists in the United States are almost As a consequence. legal authority suggests that journalists may defy transparently un. and they pect is arrested or charged until sen- nearly always succeed in challenging tencing. the like Sweden. identity of crime victims. information may or may not be report- mailed the transcript of a closed pretrial ed.S. to timidate witnesses. Common restrictions include the hearing to seven media organizations. cameras continue to be al- the Internet. within a short time. Supreme Court. the presiding judge ordered news organiza.S. jour. was posted on Nevertheless. to enjoin publication of material that sible only if publication would pose a could create a “substantial risk that the “clear and present danger” to the con.” Although requires it. They cite the perceived excesses of significant state interests justifying the that case as proof that cameras under- order. ited in what they may report. For this reason. Cameras in the Courtroom constitutional gag orders. or details about an accused person’s cret under the Colorado rape shield law. but they remain a conten- tious issue in many nations. ence judges and policymakers around the ture sexual assault cases constituted world.” and to hold in con- would be effective to alleviate the harm. observed.S. Concerns that no law. preme Court of the United States. that tends to “interfere with the course dress the problem. of the justifications offered to keep elec- even more information. The dissenting justices. of countries—though not. provisions in either the civil ant was charged with rape and faced trial or criminal code specify what types of in Colorado. In dom and Canada enjoy broad authority 2000. including the al. not the media. familial de- The transcript included the name of the tails in divorce or child custody proceed- alleged victim. judges in the United King. in this case the news organizations immediately ap- pealed the order to the state’s highest C ourtroom cameras provide greater pub- lic access.

[ A Framework for a Free Press ]

national Criminal Tribunal for Yugosla- The U.S. Supreme Court first grap-
via concluded that cameras in the court pled with the question of whether the
did not significantly affect the partici- First Amendment to the Constitution ap-
pants’ behavior and helped to provide a plied in libel cases in New York Times v.
full and accurate court record. It noted Sullivan (1964). The case arose after the
further that cameras can inform the in- newspaper published a paid editorial ad-
ternational community about tribunal vertisement protesting the treatment
workings and encourage a transparent of civil rights activists by law enforce-
and fair system of justice. It suggested ment personnel in Montgomery, Ala-
that other international judicial proceed- bama. Although he was not named in the
ings should follow suit. advertisement, L.B. Sullivan, a city com-
missioner who supervised the local po-
The Right to Criticize lice, sued, claiming that the advertisement
Government Officials and included erroneous statements and that
Public Figures it had defamed him. He was awarded

J ournalists report on the activities of
government officials and public fig-
ures. But, ironically, the more prominent
$500,000 in damages.
The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the
decision. In the majority opinion by Jus-
and powerful the individual, the more she tice William Brennan, the Court observed,
may object to criticism. During the course “Debate on public issues should be unin-
of their careers, many reporters find them- hibited, robust and wide-open,” recogniz-
selves facing a lawsuit, accusing them of ing for the first time that, paradoxically,
having falsely defamed an individual. the First Amendment must protect some
Libel is broadly defined as a false and false statements in order to encourage
defamatory statement made to a third truthful speech about matters of public
party about another individual, with the importance. Henceforth, no public official
potential to harm the subject’s reputa- could prevail in a libel case without prov-
tion. In most jurisdictions, an action for ing actual malice—that the statement
libel is a civil case, brought by the indi- was published “with knowledge that it
vidual as a means of recovering mone- was false or with reckless disregard of
tary damages. whether it was false or not.” In subsequent
Because the right to reputation is re- cases, the Court extended the actual mal-
garded as an important, though not nec- ice test to include libel suits brought by
essarily fundamental, right, international public figures as well.
conventions and treaties generally do not In cases involving private individuals
reject libel suits as necessarily violating (not public officials or public figures), the
the right of freedom of expression and the Court permits each state to establish the
public’s right to know. Article 19 of the requisite standard. It acknowledges a le-
International Covenant on Civil and Po- gitimate government interest in affording
litical Rights, for example, provides that: individuals the opportunity to be compen-
The exercise of rights...carries sated when published falsehoods harm
with it special duties and responsi- their reputations. But even then, the Su-
bilities. It may therefore be subject preme Court requires at a minimum that
to certain restrictions, but these a plaintiff prove publisher negligence, a
shall only be such as are provided standard that affords journalists some lee-
by law and are necessary…for way for good-faith errors.
respect of the rights or reputations Journalists possess a variety of privi-
of others [emphasis added]. leges and defenses against libel claims,

[ 28 ]

[ Media Law | Handbook ]

even those of non-public figures. Truth, iation. In addition, where the journalist’s
of course, is an absolute defense to libel. conduct is considered outrageous, courts
The fair report privilege permits report- may award punitive damages, designed
ers to republish without liability govern- not to compensate the plaintiff but to
ment documents, including court filings, punish the media defendant.
that contain libelous allegations, as long In some countries, media defendants
as the report of their contents is accu- may mitigate or reduce their damages by
rate. Fair comment permits good-faith demonstrating that they promptly pub-
criticism of individuals involved in mat- lished a full and fair retraction of the false
ters of public concern, provided it is and defamatory material. In a number of
based on facts that are truthfully stated nations, a defendant’s offer of amends—a
or otherwise privileged. And, as a mat- claim that the libel was published inno-
ter of First Amendment law, the Court cently—will either nullify the libel action
has held that pure opinion—statement or act as a defense in a subsequent suit.
that can neither be proven true nor An alternative to monetary damages
false—is absolutely protected. is an injunction prohibiting publication
The laws of many nations—Canada, of the allegedly libelous material. Courts
Australia, Japan, Thailand, Brazil, and in the United States and Canada have re-
Poland, among them—include variations jected injunctions as a remedy for libel,
on these privileges and defenses. Many finding them to be incompatible with free-
countries make no distinction between expression principles. But many other
public and private figures, although they countries permit them. Courts in India,
may impose stricter standards of proof on for example, will sometimes issue pre-
plaintiffs who are also government offi- publication injunctions, but only if the
cials. Some countries permit corporations statement complained of is demonstra-
to sue for libel, but many limit those ac- bly false and only if the plaintiff can dem-
tions to statements damaging to the com- onstrate that immediate injury to person
pany’s trade or business reputation. Many or property is likely to occur. In Italy, not
countries have abolished seditious libel only can prior restraints be obtained, but
and prohibit government entities from under Article 321 of the Italian Crimi-
suing for defamatory statements, even nal Code, a court can order the seizure
though individual officials may be per- of a defamatory publication.
mitted to do so. In many countries, a state prosecutor
Assuming that a plaintiff both pleads can bring a criminal libel suit. Many
and proves the elements of libel, she then scholars view criminal libel as outdated
typically will seek monetary damages. (its original purpose was to protect the
Although harm to reputation will be monarchy or aristocracy from criticism
presumed in some circumstances, such or insults). One rationale was to provide a
as when a statement falsely accuses an legal alternative for those who might oth-
individual of a crime, in most instances, erwise turn to dueling or vigilantism to
the plaintiff will be obliged to prove that seek satisfaction for affronts to their hon-
she actually suffered damage as result or or dignity. However unrealistic these
of the publication. Many countries allow threats may be today, even some mature
plaintiffs to recover damages to compen- democracies, including the United States,
sate them for actual out-of-pocket mon- retain criminal libel statutes on their
etary losses, as well as impairment of books, although they are rarely used.
reputation, loss of standing in the com- In Germany, criminal defamation laws
munity or profession, or personal humil- have been defended as necessary to pro-

[ 29 ]

[ A Framework for a Free Press ]

tect the individual’s right to dignity un- Law of July 29, 1881, on its statute books,
der the Basic Law. Portugal has argued permitting the press to be punished for
that the state has the duty to protect an insulting the president, the senate, for-
individual’s reputation. Article 443 of the eign dignitaries, and the national flag.
Belgian Criminal Code permits prosecu- By contrast, in the United States, the
tion for libel, defined as “viciously and Supreme Court has said, “There is no
publicly attributing to a given person fact, such thing as a false idea.” In Gertz v.
the legal proof of which may not or can- Robert Welch (1974), Justice Lewis Powell
not be established and which is likely to observed, “However pernicious an opin-
harm that person’s honor or to expose ion may be, we depend for its correction
that person to public contempt.” not on the conscience of judges and juries
However, the European Court of Hu- but on the competition of other ideas.” In
man Rights has overturned criminal 1988, the Court categorically rejected a
defamation convictions based on Article cause of action for infliction of emotional
10 of the European Convention. In Lin- distress brought against Larry Flynt’s
gens v. Austria, for example, it ruled that Hustler magazine by the Rev. Jerry Fal-
a politician who “inevitably and know- well. The magazine had published an
ingly” opens himself to scrutiny by jour- “advertising parody” depicting the cler-
nalists and the public must be prepared gyman purportedly describing his first
to accept harsh criticism. The court not- sexual encounter with his mother in an
ed that criminal libel convictions have outhouse while both were intoxicated.
“a chilling effect” on the press and dis- The publication included a disclaimer
courage the media from practicing their that the parody was fiction, “not to be
role as public watchdog. Nevertheless, taken seriously.”
criminal libel laws have been justified as Falwell sued Flynt for libel, invasion of
necessary to protect nascent democra- privacy, and intentional infliction of emo-
cies from damaging criticism. Azerbaijan tional distress. Although Falwell lost on
and the Maldives are just two countries the first two claims, the jury ruled in his
that, in the summer of 2009, prosecuted favor on the third. An appellate court up-
journalists for defamation. held this verdict, but a unanimous Su-
Some nations apply much looser stan- preme Court reversed. Citing the long
dards that are less compatible with press American tradition of robust and caustic
freedom. Some jail reporters for errone- political commentary, Supreme Court
ously reporting falsehoods about indi- Chief Justice William Rehnquist rejected
viduals. In many others, desacato laws Falwell’s attempt to impose an “outra-
permit criminal prosecution of journal- geousness” standard that would permit
ists for insulting or offending the dignity recovery. He wrote, “‘Outrageousness’ in
of public officials or institutions. Turkey, the area of political and social discourse
for example, has 11 separate insult laws, has an inherent subjectiveness about it
including one to protect the memory of which would allow a jury to impose liabil-
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Expressions of ity on the basis of the jurors’ tastes or
contempt for the president, vice presi- views, or…their dislike of a particular ex-
dent, or a foreign head of state are pun- pression.” Absent a showing that a false
ishable by one to five years imprisonment, statement of fact was made with actual
and/or a fine in Cameroon. A journalist malice, Rehnquist wrote, a public figure
who “dishonors or discredits” another must tolerate such attacks, in order to give
individual can be fined or imprisoned in adequate “breathing space” to the free-
Argentina. And even France retains the doms protected by the First Amendment.

[ 30 ]

[ 31 ] . but has become a trade. The case reached the U. his home and his domestic circle.S. family.” Above: After Hustler owner Larry Flynt. right. published a lewd parody of Virginia televangelist Rev. Louis ignorant and thoughtless mistake Brandeis and Samuel Warren. Gossip is no timely more than 100 years later. must tolerate such at- tacks in order to give sufficient “breathing space” to the freedoms protected by the First Amendment. what wonder that the n 1890. pub- its relative importance. To occupy the home or correspondence. Publish Newsworthy Information and crowds the space available for About Individuals matters of real interest to the com- I munity. Their concerns seem remarkably propriety and decency. left. the daily papers. Jerry Falwell. Supreme Cour t where Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote that Falwell. lished an article in the Harvard Law Review entitled “The Right to Privacy.” and Article 8(1) indolent. …When personal correspondence. two Boston lawyers. as a public figure. Privacy rights are enshrined in a num- cious. Ar- is pursued with industry as well as ticle 17 of the International Covenant on effrontery. [ Media Law | Handbook ] The Right to Gather and gossip attains the dignity of print. Falwell sued Flynt for libel. which can only guarantees “the right to respect for his be procured by intrusion upon the private and family life. longer the resource of the idle and vi.” The lawyers’ prescient observations They observed that: eventually led to the recognition of a com- The press is overstepping in every mon law right to privacy in the United direction the obvious bounds of States. “No one the details of sexual relations are shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlaw- spread broadcast on the columns of ful interference with privacy. which ber of international legal documents. To satisfy a prurient taste Civil and Political Rights says. column upon column is of the European Convention similarly filled with idle gossip.

however. but not all. statutes prohibiting the use of concealed were slow to recognize a right to privacy. tinct privacy torts: Even though she was in public at the � intrusion on seclusion. she William Prosser had identified four dis. U. to communicate someone some protection for seeking out the news. for example. de. It includes not only physical trespass inal Code guarantees the right to privacy into another’s private space but also by making it an offense to trespass into eavesdropping. Amendment rights of the press. her friends made fun of her. Scottish author J. to without permission. Many countries recognize some statute. on an Edinburgh street while pushing tion of private communications. Others presents a free-expression dilemma be- are statutory. and the Supreme of the constitution and by common law. the American legal scholar her sitting on a door stoop after. successfully sued for by other individuals.S. or to freedom of the press would be eviscerat- intrude on another’s solitude after having ed. privacy rights in libel. or other- private homes. Court of Canada found that her right to � depiction of another in a false light. is unlaw- anteed in South Africa both in Section 14 ful in some states. Constitution to protect individuals from journalists are free to record or photo- unreasonable searches and seizures. to access private papers. Article 5 of the or all of them. But each is designed against journalists who have published to provide a remedy to an individual the truth. woman recovered damages from a Mon- ince of the 50 states. as graph anything they can observe in a well as other unwarranted intrusions by public place. by of self. the Supreme � publication of private facts. Although the Su- photograph or spy on individuals when on preme Court once observed. treal magazine that had photographed By 1960. [ A Framework for a Free Press ] On the national level. K. A young Canadian privacy law is almost exclusively the prov. ing. jurisdictions. With the exception invasion of privacy on behalf of her of a handful of federal statutes that pro.” The Danish Crim. Constitution of Brazil. In most. there are excep- government agents. Germany journalists from generally applicable guarantees “the right of personality” in its laws that prohibit intrusion. but on his own sense of violation may be guaranteed by the constitution.” the high court has never exempted been warned to leave him alone.S. else’s private facts to another person. young son after she was photographed hibit certain types of electronic intercep. Court let stand a Florida ruling that Courts in the United States. And the right of privacy is guar. as recognize some version of this tort. many countries based not on his external reputation. “The private life of an individual is ly arises in the context of news gather- natural and inviolable. tape recorders do not violate the First Although the Supreme Court has inter. “Without private property. Nevertheless. or by common law. the Quebec human rights charter. cause it permits legal action to be brought ognizes all four torts. hidden cameras. preted the Fourth Amendment of the U. Intrusion on seclusion most common- clares. the amendment ap. for example. Rowling. time the picture was taken. The use of Basic Law. The publication of private facts tort Some arise from common law. claimed. him in a stroller. to wise intercepting private conversations use mechanical devices to eavesdrop. tape recording. control the use of her image in the media � misappropriation or commercial use was guaranteed by the privacy clause in of another’s name or image. However. of plies to the government and not to actions Harry Potter fame. tions. The [ 32 ] . Not every jurisdiction rec.

Similar to libel. or who affirma- man courts rejected her claims. false light al- made between reporting facts— lows individuals to sue for depictions that even controversial ones—capable of imply inaccurate. including horseback curately reporting the information. democracy by contributing to The challenge for any journalist is to impart[ing] information and ideas determine whether a court would deem on matters of public interest. sided. While in concern. [ Media Law | Handbook ] United States construes it narrowly. from publishing the names of rape vic- cern. such as Hungary and South Africa. but not necessarily de- contributing to a debate in a demo. the newspaper had obtained the infor- A more extreme example involved mation legally—from a police report form Princess Caroline von Hannover of Mo. A public figure or public official the former case the press exercises will probably be held to have a dimin. such as in a docudrama or other [ 33 ] . however. Sim- riding. tries. does not do so in the latter case. Supreme Court ruled that the of Naomi Campbell leaving a Narcotics victim of a sexual assault could not sue a Anonymous meeting. moreover. Even of privacy. the high court found that because were not. The Ger. the private life of an individual who. does not able person and of no legitimate public exercise official functions. prohibited news organizations stance abuse was a matter of public con. be the basis of an invasion of privacy suit ple. but in tively disclose it themselves. for tion. facts. and skiing. Campbell’s addiction and treatment tims. violated ilarly. that had been inadvertently made avail- naco. finding that her The tort of false-light invasion of pri- rights as guaranteed by Article 8 of the vacy is something of a legal anomaly and European Convention on Human Rights is not universally embraced. A news or. the supermodel newspaper that included her name as was able to recover damages for invasion part of a criminal incident roundup. The House of Lords concluded though Florida. The court acknowl. Rights upheld them. edged that Von Hannover is a public fig. ganization’s decision to publish informa- tion does not necessarily mean that it is Broadly speaking. In 1989. generally 2004.…it a particular fact newsworthy.S. allow actions for publication of false and ure but ruled the photographs involved misleading information. the state in which she re- that although the general topic of sub. informa- of public concern. individuals who consent to the her privacy under German law. famatory. example. as in this case. mate facts highly offensive to a reason. The Daily Mirror published photographs the U. shopping. For exam. but only about no matter of general concern: two-thirds of American states recognize A fundamental distinction must be the tort. who claimed that publication of able in the sheriff’s department press photographs depicting her going about room—it could not be held liable for ac- ordinary activities. the European Court of Human cannot complain if it is published. A few coun- had been violated. tion that is in the public domain—for ex- guish between issues that are of legiti. its vital role of “watchdog” in a ished expectation of privacy. release of information. when the British tabloid newspaper for publication of private facts. These may arise in the cratic society relating to politicians context of embellishment or fictionaliza- in the exercise of their functions. and reporting details of limiting actions to publication of inti. ample. One also must distin. details that can be obtained from mate public interest and connecting public records or proceedings—cannot those issues with individuals.

all human rights conven- stitution permits individuals to commer. and France are among the licensing statute contrary to the Ameri- countries recognizing some variation of can Convention on Human Rights and.” thorized uses in advertisements or prod. or andatory licensing of reporters has stories. imparting information. by extension. tions. and regimes can ty. magazine or newspaper article. the Inter-American Court of Human China. the tort is limited to unau. concluded. the Texas or educational requirements can prevent appropriation statute.) specifically ex. of journalists in guilds. had earned official approval. also known as the MacBride Commission rassed simply because they dislike report to UNESCO. or work of art. dom House. Article 41(2) of the con. in effect. For example.” In 1985. radio the logical conclusion: “The membership program. Paro. this tort. gage in journalism and of keeping zine in federal court in California by ar. It is human dignity. the protected inter. professional standards high. Principle 8 singer’s name and image. Canada. As an Irish Law Reform Commission arbitrarily withhold licenses from report- report put it: ers whose work they wish to suppress. As Where the person does not consent the 1980 International Commission for to such use of the photograph. in 2002. or image for commercial purposes is re. “a license to censor. Rights ruled a Costa Rican journalist- Germany. book. But when appeared inside. their affiliation political material. access to the full use of the news media as long as consent is first obtained. Licensing of Journalists and News tion of photographs or videotape coupled Organizations M with misleading captions. to professional and trade associations dies or satirical works are also protected. and the affiliation of the media with [ 34 ] . “insofar as it denied some persons cially exploit the image of another person. For example. journalists. Austria. In Italy. tive regulations governing the conduct of In such cases. an actor been justified as a means of ensur- whose photograph appeared on the cover ing that only qualified individuals en- of Playgirl successfully sued the maga. But many Limits on Government false-light cases arise from the publica. it claims. a government asserts authority to deter- Appropriation of an individual’s name mine who can and cannot cover the news. In the as a means of expressing themselves or United States.” The tially a proprietary right. or he may feel offended and embar. Some inter- guing that the combination of the picture national organizations have advocated and the headlines created the false im. protection would be est is not necessarily proprietary or granted only to those journalists who commercial. “Licens- publicity or because they dislike ing schemes might well lead to restric- being associated with the product. uct endorsement. film. Others consider for arresting journalists or expelling it an extension of the right of personali. them from a country. says Leonard Sussman of Free- garded in many jurisdictions as essen. of the Declaration of Chapultepec draws empts any use in a play. comparable to lack of a license can provide the pretext trademark or copyright. [ A Framework for a Free Press ] dramatization of a true story. licensing to protect journalists from gov- pression that nude photographs of him ernment harassment or harm. headlines. she the Study of Communication Problems. Australia. certification. Mandatory membership. (known as the individuals from gathering and dissemi- Buddy Holly Act because it was enacted nating information and deprive others of in response to exploitation of the deceased the opportunity to receive it.

“diverse and antagonistic sources of in- trum. ship. which is regarded as a scarce pub. [ Media Law | Handbook ] business groups must be strictly volun. but cause of the explosion of new media out- the Federal Communications Commis. candidates for public office to appear on ship and. formation. the doctrine was no longer necessary sion (FCC) has exclusive authority to to serve the public interest in receiving license use of the electromagnetic spec. decency and to requiring broadcasters to censing requirements can. …and actually inhibits the presen- [ 35 ] . the Supreme Court in Brazil abol. tion authority empowered to assess li- censing fees. the commission concluded that be- ing of newspapers and magazines. …It would be strange if and the Middle East. also be viewed as censor. nine Latin American countries possible by requiring licenses to continue to impose some requirements. Nevertheless. li. which the journalists U.” The commission added that: lic resource. It may prohibit the concentration of Licensing conditions news organiza. time. forms in a single market. under some provide equal opportunities for opposing circumstances. the First Amendment is was repealed by the FCC in 1987. United States. As the Supreme Court The intrusion by government into observed in 1969: the content of programming occa- Where there are substantially more sioned by the enforcement of doc- individuals who want to broadcast trine unnecessarily restricts the than there are frequencies to allo. The fairness doctrine. or publish. able First Amendment right to tary. journalistic freedom of broadcasters cate. write place in many countries in Africa. overcrowd the spectrum. been limited primarily to regulating in- censing requirements. broadcast and by limiting the And in Zimbabwe. law authorizes FCC control over claimed were grossly unreasonable and some aspects of broadcast station owner- restrictive of freedom of expression. it is idle to posit an unabridge. Although in June the First Amendment.” Mandatory licensing or affiliation broadcast comparable to the right requirements for journalists remain in of every individual to speak. lets. tity or limit cross-ownership. ately preceding an election. journalists challenged number of licenses so as not to the establishment of a media accredita. as incompatible the airwaves during the period immedi- with freedom of expression. Article 10 of the European Convention on the FCC’s jurisdiction over broadcasters’ Human Rights guarantees freedom from content decisions is subject to the First “interference by public authority” but Amendment. In the their communities and to provide re- sponsible representatives of opposing views a reasonable opportunity to reply. accordingly. which required Additional Government broadcast licensees to report on contro- Regulation versial issues of public importance in I n many jurisdictions.S. where one al. many outlets in the hands of a single en- tion operations upon government approv. Asia. It affords another means of controlling company controls multiple media plat- the press and promoting self-censorship. the government’s power to regulate content differs be- tween print and broadcast media. tecting and furthering communica- ished a legal regulation requiring a uni. and in recent years has has never been interpreted to prohibit li. Nevertheless. prevented the Government versity degree and membership in a from making radio communication union. At that held to prohibit any government licens. tions. aimed at pro- 2009.

the crimi- and Article 19 of the International Cov- nal code prohibits distribution of pornog- enant on Civil and Political Rights. some images of sexual violence and ideas “regardless of frontiers. Supreme ment of the public and in degrada. However. subject to public public morals” or “outraging public decen- scrutiny.” In these situations. Only Narrow and Carefully Supreme Court in 1973. enjoys no consti- scope of this book. Tax tributing obscene materials is a criminal laws that apply to all for-profit corpora- offense. fining it. see or hear the matter contained or public importance to the detri. of general applicability (such as register. while tion are often considered constitutional. Child pornography. when asked tion of the editorial prerogatives of to define obscenity. But in operations). restrictions on the in- international freedom of expression guar- ternational circulation of news media antees generally protect the access rights products violate both Article 10 of the of consenting adults. or they may lack qualifying lan- guage like that adopted by the U.” Vaguely worded laws may proscribe and no more extensive than necessary to indecent or obscene material without de- promote identified public interests. in Vietnam. except for certain European Convention on Human Rights specific categories. the provides that material shall be deemed government claims that it filters out Inter- obscene if “the effect…is. famously observed. publishing or dis- Taxation. such as to tend to deprave and cor. which limited ob- Tailored Restrictions on scenity to those works that. watchdog group OpenNet Initiative found gard to all relevant circumstances. Or the obscenity laws United Kingdom’s Obscene Publications may be used as a pretext to censor other Act of 1959 (as amended). wheth- An extensive discussion of licensing and regulatory schemes is beyond the er or not legally obscene. journalists may run afoul of the laws if they publish sexually explicit. Prior restraints on their distribu- tions are generally acceptable. participation. For example. lack serious literary. graphic materials. tutional protection in the United States.S. usually raise no significant concerns for gally responsible for the organization’s mainstream news organizations. cy. Court Justice Potter Stewart.” can be banned. rial. Yet a 2007 report by the Internet rupt persons who are likely. material. In Germany. know it when I see it. outdated statutes still rec- of media operations or content decisions ognize offenses like “conspiracy to corrupt should be transparent. which raphy that depicts abuse of children. [ A Framework for a Free Press ] tation of controversial issues of read. if taken as a net access only to sexually explicit mate- whole. and oversight. material. obscenity laws ing the names and addresses of those le. “I broadcast journalists.” The late U. “taken as a Indecent or Obscene Speech whole. embodied in it. to instead that pornography remains rela- [ 36 ] . In general. mate to require news organizations to Many countries forbid the sales of any por- abide by corporate laws and regulations nography to those under age 18. having re. politi- P robably the biggest challenge to eval- uating government controls on inde- cent or obscene speech is defining the cal or scientific value.” In most countries. it is legiti. artistic. In mature democracies. too. for example.” The worthy. but news- terms “indecent” and “obscene.S. national and By the same token. presents issues. those singling out the news media for Many laws seek to protect children from special obligations often are deemed un- both exploitation and exposure to porno- constitutional prior restraints on speech. Any government regulation some countries. In guarantee the free flow of information Sweden.

while religious and po. Content that the broadcast of indecent material that has redeeming social. [ Media Law | Handbook ] tively unfettered. would be constitutionally protected speech or artistic value should be protected. all parties are on notice of routinely are blocked. lated standards. transparently and follow clearly articu- scenity is a focused one. litical sites critical of the government That way. the Supreme tinguish materials that are offensive but Court has upheld greater restrictions on not demonstrably harmful. on the ground that the Any government body authorized to pervasive nature of the broadcast medium classify or restrict distribution of ob- makes its programming uniquely accessi. in the print media. political. what is impermissible. scene or indecent material or to impose ble to children. Laws should dis- Even in the United States. Laws should de. fine with precision what is being banned. sanctions on publishers should operate The best approach to regulating ob. [ 37 ] . scientific.

[ Self-Regulation In Lieu of Litigation ] [ 38 ] .

unless by the lawful judgment of his peers and by the law of the land. M agna C a rta Runnymede. [ Media Law | Handbook ] Sel f-R egul at ion In L ieu of L it igat ion N o freeman shall be arrested. and we will not set forth against him nor send against him. or detained in prison or deprived of his freehold. or outlawed. England June. or in any way molested. 1215 [ 39 ] . or banished.

They may write a column. autonomy and independence. they should be assured collides with other competing interests. the newly elect. P ress councils. and infliction of emotional distress are just a few types of civil action one can bring against the press. why news organizations make their de- ed coalition government vowed to “re. cisions.” budsmen are generally paid by the news The right to free expression often organization. Others are underwritten by charitable [ 40 ] . fairness. investigat- with individuals of many nationalities ing alleged ethical breaches. in libel cases are so strong that some tri- als never reach the point of adjudicating Ombudsmen the underlying allegation’s truth. invasion of privacy. For example. breach of confi- dence. B ut lawsuits take time. legal standards favoring libel plaintiffs turned the United Kingdom A lso known as “readers’ representa- tives” or “public editors. Sometimes there is no legal remedy for types of journalistic misconduct that Press Councils can upset readers and viewers. [ Self-Regulation In Lieu of Litigation ] Sel f-R egul at ion In L ieu of L it igat ion ournalists and news organizations make mistakes. reduce costs. risk that harsh judicial remedies. Self-regulatory mechanisms offer a United States. and often do not afford a plaintiff satisfactory results. and dis. case involves journalistic misconduct. But in May 2010. ically. cost money. they field complaints. in the will inhibit the future free and open publication of controversial views. those imposed when the underlying Many are funded by the news media. and they explain how and them. which typically op- erate as tribunals that consider and adjudicate complaints about me- and accuracy. Even though om- courage libel tourism. an individual basis. constitutional protections valuable alternative. even Some are legislatively mandated. can take many forms. They filing suit in London against foreign encourage staff to respond to readers’ publications that they claimed defamed questions. copyright violation. And there is always the dia conduct. Courts offer aggrieved individuals remedies. A court- room is often not the best place to re- solve disputes about balance.” ombuds- men act as liaisons between a news into the “libel capital of the world” in the organization’s staff and the public. Typ- 1990s and first years of the 21st century. By contrast. or view and reform libel laws to protect they may simply handle complaints on freedom of speech. Law- suits for libel.

Both the complainant and interest other than the public’s the news organization have the right to right to know. the largest voluntary Press councils can have national. the SPJ code is a vol- publication is voluntary. colleagues as human beings mits those of potential merit for adjudica. By its own terms. � Seek truth and report it: Jour- cluding academics. to abide by four core principles: tatives of the press and of the public. have adopted codes of ethics. offer cate specific complaints. and deliberations. or even voluntary contri. or local jurisdiction. reporting submit their complaints to a press coun. subjects and Council staff screens complaints and sub. M ost associations of journalists. ques- tions. of nalists should be honest. it does provide voluntary guidelines to help journalists guidance and opinions to journalists and make morally and professionally sound members of the public. A good example is the Code of support from governmental entities but Ethics for the Society of Professional operate independently. and interpreting information. mittee. The members editors. After the presentations. Others offer more general prin- affiliated with universities. A typical � Act independently: Journalists model features an open hearing before should be free of obligation to any the tribunal.” The SPJ has a National Ethics Com- Terms vary. cil for resolution are usually obliged to � Minimize harm: Ethical journal- waive any right to pursue a law suit.S. decisions. Those who choose to courageous in gathering. [ Media Law | Handbook ] foundations or nongovernmental organi. appear. the tribunal is. Still others are detailed. in. re. fair and the government. sometimes. A few receive ciples. ists treat sources. for others. consisting of members from and violation of a provision can lead to throughout the United States with a dismissal by an employer or expulsion special interest and expertise in ethics. Some codes of ethics are extremely butions from the public. the rulings involving them. association of U. [ 41 ] . Its code encourages journalists of the tribunal usually include represen. deserving of respect. and many individual news organiza- tions. Although the committee does not adjudi- But most codes of ethics. tion under council procedures. Some news councils require accountable to their readers. as UNESCO. It states: “The code is intended not as a set of ‘rules’ Codes of Ethics but as a guide for ethical decision-making. multilateral organizations such accountability to readers and viewers. untary guide to ethical behavior. from a professional journalism society. It is not—nor can it be under the First Amendment—legally enforceable. viewers and each other. Some codes are binding. news reporters and gional. Codes thus encourage greater zations. member news organizations to publish listeners. � Be accountable: Journalists are sues a ruling. and. Journalists (SPJ). instead.

but press responsibility is not mandated by the Constitution and like many other virtues it cannot be legislated. 241 (1974) [ 42 ] .S. v. [ The Responsibilities of Journalists ] A responsible press is an undoubtedly desirable goal. C hi ef J ustice Wa r r en B u rger Supreme Court of the United States Miami Herald Publishing Co. Tornillo 418 U.

But the judge cited a to respect the personal sphere weighs 2005 media code drawn up by the Royal more heavily than the right to freedom House with the assistance of the Nether. of expression. untarily adopt codes or standards of prac- The AP had argued that royalty’s pub.S.” But Is Journalism a “Profession”? the judge concluded that publication of the photos served no public interest and T he term “code” is usually associated with a profession.” Although she acknowl.” lands Government Information Service This story represents the responsible (RVD). ciety of Professional Journalists says. contending stone of a journalist’s credibility. ers Without Borders) denounced both the “Professional integrity is the corner- ruling and the media code. a court in Amsterdam ruled that the Associated Press (AP) violated the Dutch royal family’s privacy by distributing photographs taken of them on a skiing holiday in Argentina. as guideposts dicted the ruling “would have the unfor. press freedom but. But whether jour- [ 43 ] .” the judge never. the Code of Ethics of the U. to help journalists determine the best tunate effect of unduly restraining the way to do their jobs.” “The right to respect the personal sphere weighs more heavily than the right to freedom of expression. These serve not as grounds to restrict lic actions are of public concern. She found that the pictures were taken during “a private vacation” and depicted “private activities. as a binding agreement. in this particular case. instead. of theless invoked it as the basis to threaten course.-based So- ally. A nonbind- refrain from photographing them except ing journalistic code of conduct became during official functions or designated the basis to stop an international news “media moments. that the system established by the code “reduces the media to PR agencies. tice. [ Media Law | Handbook ] T he R esponsibil it ies of Jour nal i s t s n August 2009. As the preamble to exercise of freedom of information glob.” Reporters Sans Frontières (Report.” the judge wrote. requiring the Dutch news media to journalist’s worst nightmare. The presiding judge prohib- ited further dissemination or sale of four of the photos. Many individual media organi- AP with a fine of up to 50. that.”. agency from publishing photographs of edged that the code “cannot be regarded public figures that had been taken legally. It pre. “The right der Argentine law.000 euros for zations and journalists’ associations vol- any future distribution of the photos. Taking the photographs was legal un. It does not always happen that way.

these report it. instead. nothing sionals throughout the world. ular or minority viewpoints. How. engineers. and mem. a profession is an information from diverse sources. quire reporters to complete a particular training or university program. nalism is a profession is a hotly contested circumscribes freedom of expression and question. occupation with formal qualifications. even journalists them- [ 44 ] . Some countries re. re. More Questions Than Answers ship or compel them to hold a govern- ment-issued license. to offer journalists a framework to help mandatory credentialing schemes. and accountants. physicians. No court Journalists are sometimes subjected to or licensing board could rule that report- similar requirements. er ineligible to practice journalism. organization from hiring her. No code of ethics can answer impose barriers to participation and can every question. then. dentists. journalism codes of eth- quiring specialized training and licens. and subject to a regulatory body with ly enforceable by the state. The former the authority to admit and discipline might allow a member news organization members. [ The Responsibilities of Journalists ] Above: Was privacy a more impor tant right than freedom of the press? A cour t in Amsterdam ruled that the AP photographers violated the Dutch royal family’s privacy by distributing photos taken of them during a skiing holiday in Argentina. them decide what to report and how to ever well-intentioned. the answer undermines the public’s right to receive is “no. pharma. Lawyers. ics will be aspirational rather than legal- ing. Others Ethics and Standards: mandate their guild or union member. to discharge an individual reporter who bers of the clergy are regarded as profes. raise more questions than they answer.” Traditionally. violates the code. But even then. In many countries. Licensing Reasonable people. Ideally. So are would stop that reporter from seeking architects. they argue. another job elsewhere or prevent another cists. and good ones probably exclude individuals who represent unpop. Most free-expression advocates oppose E thics codes aim not to impose legally enforceable standards but.

“The press must take care not to needlessly endangering public publish inaccurate. ful and defensible solutions. especially where is essential. [ 45 ] . “Seek truth and report it” is government claims that doing the first core principle of the Society of so will damage its efforts to Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. family members? � For example. and allowed fur ther publication. bute to robust public discussion or. undermine morale and ethical standard should apply in a par.S. a journalist should Above: In 1971. including scenes of violence publishes a falsehood. But does it contri. But ethical standards and guide- group? This is perfectly legal in lines can offer guidance toward thought- many countries. protect the public? Would this The British Editors’ Code of Practice also be the act of an independent lists accuracy as its first principle and government watchdog or of one states. may disagree about how a specific instead. Supreme Cour t ruled that constitutional guarantees of a free press overrode other considerations. simply this: A journalist never knowingly flict. including pictures. foment hatred and Seeking Truth: The First Principle M promote conflict? ost journalism codes emphasize that � Should the press publish classi. The U. misleading or distort- health and safety? ed information. telling the truth—being accurate— fied information. Of course. the New York Times published the Pentagon Papers despite government claims that doing so would endanger national security. needlessly distress surviving ticular situation.” The � Should a television station air one universal ethical principle may be graphic footage of military con. [ Media Law | Handbook ] selves. uphold. instead. and death? Would this convey to This is not always an easy standard to the public the reality of war? Or. should a journalist Readers and viewers may not agree lampoon a name or image sacred with every choice a news organization to a particular ethnic or religious makes.

This legal privilege for journalists. nor should they plagiarize— ent things to different people. it must be taining permission to do so. they can undermine or some other imprecise formulation. of information. Any re- includes ascertaining a source’s point of porter must be clear with the source ex- view or what his “agenda” might be. care to assure that headlines. What about anonymous sourcing. The stag. tity be kept secret. [ The Responsibilities of Journalists ] make every effort to verify a story before information to a named source also helps reporting it. Phrases like “off the re- Obviously journalists should not fabri. audio. sources to obtain diverse perspectives on a subject. Some sound bites. the news organization’s reputa- that misleads or misrepresents. Photo. Ide. reporters should consult multiple that promise. or quotations are not only news organizations require that an edi- accurate but do not oversimplify the tor approve any promise of confidentiali- facts or take them out of context. clearly labeled. journalist at risk of being held in con- But journalists must be cautious and tempt in nations that do not recognize a determine that a source is credible. or demand. like using hidden cameras. They should not make up governing the news organization’s use quotations. Knowledgeable ones en- hance a journalist’s news-gathering ability formation. dently the credibility of the source. tion is at stake along with that of the in- ing of photos or reenactments of news dividual reporter. teasers. When possible. Journal- that is. actly how far he is prepared to go to keep ally. and micro- named source? It is preferable that all phones. or assuming a false identity. and video may need to be er. But not be linked to “administration sources” equally important. unattributed piece of information is pub- ations of space or time but not in a way lished. In sources be “on the record” and that facts some jurisdictions. But it won’t always be possible. And they should make ev. the policy makes sense. events should be avoided or. Once a promise is made. where abso. Surreptitious and Undercover ery effort to verify the accuracy of a Reporting Techniques source’s information whenever possible. keeping that promise can put the and help her publish more information. they are illegal. Here. cord” and “on background” mean differ- cate the news. copy without attribution—another ist and source should agree on the terms person’s work. As the British Code of Practice says. When an cropped or edited to address consider. ty. a jour- News organizations should take great nalist should resist making this promise. Although this can frustrate a report- graphs. is only as good as her sources. tape recorders.” Should the journalist be called to testify in court about her infor- mation. their promises. that his iden- clarification as quickly as possible. a responsible news But sometimes a source has valid rea- organization publishes a correction or sons to request. after publication. it is said. Reporters should be very clear about lutely necessary. the practice of attributing a fact to an un- J ournalists should avoid deceptive re- porting techniques. Readers and viewers often Sources who stand behind their word are won’t believe that a reporter who essen- more likely to tell the truth. kept. “Journalists have a moral obliga- Sources tion to protect confidential sources of in- A reporter. nor reprint a news story pre. Attributing tially lied in order to get a story will tell [ 46 ] . credibility. pared by someone else without first ob. But facts that alter original the reader or viewer evaluate indepen- perceptions may only be learned over time.

Journalists and their news they are proven fact. The SPJ code. “Objectivity is not popular. she also should seek indepen- herself as a member of the news media dently to verify the accuracy of the in- and make clear that she may use what. views an opportunity to be heard. But the goal tion. They sug. even un- University. But. News media should then ex- I n many countries.” This principle perpetrator of a crime and will encour. Generally authorities say. Encouraging Diversity of Views tional methods will not work and. like [ 47 ] .” No one approaches any story vide a forum for robust debate on issues with complete objectivity. and charged with a crime. subjects and colleagues as human that the person in custody really is the beings deserving of respect. an accused person enjoys a pre. Some question cate different perspectives. it is likely that she editor and online readers’ comments are will have a definite bias toward at least two ways to encourage public participa- some aspects of the story. Professor Michael Bugeja.” he writes. only then. Respect for the Individual sumption of innocence until tried and convicted. to the extent the law speaking. point of view and select the subjects that it covers accordingly. when a compelling public interest demands it. advocacy and reporting. formation and to search for credible con- ever she learns in a story. a partisan press is the norm. there are times when sources. News organizations should pro- attain it. [ Media Law | Handbook ] the truth when he reports it. Readers and viewers in these na- tions may expect that a news organization plain their methods when the story is will approach topics from its own particular published or broadcast. a journalist should identify permits. This model has been criticized in recent years. “but They should support freedom of speech the process through which we seek to for all. Yet law enforcement person- nel often want to convince the public T he second tenet of the SPJ Code of Eth- ics is to “Minimize harm…treat sourc- es. a synonym for truth. Opinion columns gest that true objectivity essentially has no and editorial commentary should be clearly moral compass and treats all facts and all labeled and should neither distort nor fal- viewpoints as equally deserving of respect. sify the facts that underlie the opinion. flicting information from other reliable Nevertheless. organizations should reserve these tech- niques for the rare occasion when conven. She should resist simply parrot- a story can be obtained only through ing the theories of the authorities as if subterfuge. They also know that Objectivity in the News competing news organizations may advo- J ournalists in the United States strive to achieve objectivity. In many coun- tries. disagrees. tion of falsehoods or pejorative attacks Suppose a suspect has been arrested on others. recognizes that a responsible journalist age news media reporting of information sometimes unavoidably will harm someone that strengthens their case. Letters to the begins researching. of course. But news organizations also should is to set aside those presumptions and make every effort to keep the discussion prejudices and to move forward with a civil and to discourage the dissemina- healthy skepticism. As a reporter vital to their community. The objective but requires her to make every effort to journalist will. report what the minimize that damage. This can be con- sistent with journalism ethics but only if the news organization distinguishes between whether objectivity is desirable. director of Journalists should seek out diverse the School of Journalism at Iowa State voices and afford competing and.

Persistence is appropri. and other J ournalists should not reinforce stereo- types. Review copies of victim plays the role of accuser in a crim. Although they forbid or strongly discourage photograph- may be legal. Gender-neutral at all. especially when they become the subject of attention Cultural Sensitivity through no fault of their own. music. Be wary of travel junkets portance to the criminal defendant— that are little more than thinly disguised journalists should not pander to pruri. children. But in many countries. ed to charity unless there is a journalistic tim’s credibility might be a legitimate reason to retain them as a resource for issue to explore—and one of some im. future reporting. that a news subject would prefer to keep secret. spect their preferences. adherents of some religions justified in every case. dom of expression and to silence dissent- sion into individuals’ private lives. Journalists should re- calls. A public official may wish to keep The Independent Journalist secret details of an extramarital affair. tination or subject. mise her ability to act independently and Similarly. but aggressive tactics will not be For example. making repeated telephone ing individuals. Although an alleged vic. [ 48 ] . or remain. Journalists should con. crime victims often prefer that to inform the public free from other influ- their identity remain confidential. sometimes is a cloak for censorship. The news media should balance should pay their own way when sending the rights and interests of both victims staff to cover sporting or cultural events. affected by news coverage. or movies should be donat- inal prosecution. a news organization may agree. they become T he journalist’s highest loyalty should be to the public. But if public funds or other resources are used to support the affair. ate. in the case of children or sexual assault fees. and valid reasons to report information whatever justification is offered. unless there is a taking multiple photographs. there can be good challenge attempts to suppress the truth. travel. tickets. News organizations terest. whether it is necessary to identify an indi- sider carefully whether there is a genu. The ethical journalist should On the other hand. the relatives of public figures and celebrities. language is often appropriate. This means avoiding conflicts of interest that could compro- a matter of legitimate public interest. “cultural values” been asked to leave may cause distress. and only an when their real intent is to restrict free- overriding public interest justifies intru. or other goods or ser- victims. inely newsworthy reason to report on them or similar characteristic. and ences and considerations. vidual by race. at least Journalists should avoid accepting gifts. sensitive to different cultural traditions. ing on private property after having On the other hand. compelling reason to do otherwise. They should consider carefully with sensitivity. Re- Even the most public person is entitled pressive regimes may cite social values to some zone of privacy. The practice is intellectually lazy and can lead to misperceptions and inac- vulnerable individuals should be treated curacy. [ The Responsibilities of Journalists ] many similar codes. books. ing views. following a person on the street. exhorts the journalist and criminal defendants with the right to show compassion for those who will be of the public to be informed. Intrusive news-gathering techniques Reporters should remember and be can cause harm. Crime victims. sexual orientation. a crime vices from news sources. religion. attempts to persuade reporters to write ent tastes by publicizing sensational enthusiastically about a particular des- facts that are not a matter of public in.

a particular location to appear on a radio vertising sides of the news business. But if stained from voting in elections. In certain situations. for family members. po. individu. But what about when law enforce- group. guarding against improper government fice or volunteering with an advocacy behavior.” possesses nonpublic knowledge that may When editorial decisions conflict with affect the stock price) may apply. matters. erage or suppress negative reporting. Journal. Some news organizations prohibit certain kinds of political or philanthropic R eporting on government raises partic- ularly difficult challenges. crisis. [ Media Law | Handbook ] If this is not possible. Most forbid journalists to report on ment officials ask reporters not to report the organizations with which they. news that has been “bought and Journalists should not endorse prod. or religious organizations Covering Government can create a conflict of interest for a jour- nalist. they do not. such as running for political of. rights when they choose to become jour. Memberships in clubs. travel. they should not offer bribes or pay. paid for” is suspect. Although example? Should journalists cooperate? If an editor at the Washington Post even ab. a disclaimer should ments to news subjects. they do. ucts in return for compensation. On the other hand. To the outside ob- be included in the story. journalists ments they and their families own and may also be condemned for withholding refrain from trading stocks within a short information or accused of delaying publi- time of writing about them. is that a journalist’s loyalty is to the public. server. it cannot afford a completely free press and Many news organizations have special will urge journalists to write favorably as a rules for reporters and commentators who way to help solidify a fragile and emerging cover business and financial topics. ate to reimburse her reasonable expenses. can arise when the government claims porting might influence the market and that there is a compelling need for secrecy benefit them personally. Laws democracy. it newly elected government may claim that should be disclosed. it may be appropri- vertisers must not influence favorable cov. jour- nalists. Ethical Issues When litical parties. about intelligence and law enforcement close to their editors the financial instru. or emergency. or television program. But advertisement should be clearly labeled so “checkbook journalism” and bidding for there is no possibility of confusing an ad news should be avoided. The public generally expects journalists to act as watch- activities. Any including meals. and lodging. One guiding principle erage. with news reporting or commentary. and they such as when a source is asked to travel to should keep separate the editorial and ad. dogs. particularly if their re. They should dis. Ad. or close details of an ongoing hostage situation. This financial interest. The answers payments intended to influence news cov. are affiliated. During war. they may compromise their own als obviously do not surrender their civil ability to hold government accountable. cation for partisan reasons. pressure to be patriotic can be great. But it is important to remember nalists may feel conflicting loyalties. The that affiliations can be interpreted as bias. associations. lives may be endangered. Just as journalists should not take These are difficult calls. news organizations ists should not write about companies in can be criticized for substituting their own which they own stock or have some other judgment for that of elected officials. government wishes. Sometimes journalists are forbidding insider trading (buying and asked to report propaganda as truth in the selling stocks and other equities when one interest of protecting “national security. Or a If a conflict of interest is unavoidable. are not always easy. [ 49 ] .

to post these policies prominently and to request favorable news coverage? Media apply them consistently. Ideally. Did a merchant who adver. News safety. those hold- ing controversial or dissenting views with- Being Accountable to the Public hold their identity as a matter of personal A n important part of a journalist’s job is to hold those in positions of au- thority accountable to the public. such as Facebook. be acknowledged promptly and correct- nity or country. blog. Using Social Media Deviations from usual ethical standards should be explained. They can give government officials an opportunity to explain why a particular M ost. the most patriotic thing ists. to visit a news organization’s Web site. And challenge each other’s work. practitioners. [ The Responsibilities of Journalists ] not to a particular government or regime. a dedicated. tempted to suppress critical reporting by claiming it could damage public safety or Special Ethics Issues Raised by national security. and MySpace. They may invite user- product is constantly available for scru. But those who speak anonymously still have an ethical obligation to be truth- ful. tent. In some societies. But bloggers should consider whether That said. Sometimes. courage them to raise concerns and com. They can even allow a journalist They should strive to minimize these to interact with a community or to promote a by establishing fact-checking proce. pseudonym. and other new media story might endanger lives or a specific na. if not all. the consumer has many news pose of commentary and criticism. Many bloggers encourage readers to The news media are more transparent engage in the discussion and to add com- than many businesses because their work ments to their sites. traditional media’s eth- ical guidelines make sense for citizen journalists. such as sexually ex- be disclosed. News organizations should invite readers to comment and en- M any journalists. tinize those in power and hold them to ac. and as transparent as pos- organizations have a similar ethical obli. unlike mainstream journal- count. moderate postings made by others. or tapping into YouTube or plaints. cyberspace face additional challenges. choices and can reject those whose stan. are turning to social media. [ 50 ] . gation of accountability. generated content and post it on their tiny. Bloggers. especially controversial ones. They may link to external sites. both traditional and new media practitioners. These media can provide story ideas and All news organizations make mistakes. bloggers. accurate. should explain how they make editorial decisions. impartial staff other sites that allow individuals to post con- member should address these complaints. sible about conflicts of interest. But those who publish in tional interest. often publish anonymously or use a a journalist can do is question authority. as well If business or political affiliations influ. journalism “brand” by encouraging readers dures throughout the editorial process. All these techniques add vitality to a dards fall short. But when errors do occur. they should certain content types. But journalists should scru. plicit video or personal attacks. But governments may be ed prominently. Orkut. It is wise tises heavily in a newspaper. Reporters can respect New Media and Citizen Journalism these claims. but they should also be skep- tical. as whether they will establish policies for ence their editorial choices. useful leads. they should No journalist wants to harm his commu. Journalists regularly critique and blogs. And in most they may excerpt others’ work for the pur- countries. for instance. most news organizations they will attempt to verify links and to can do more to be accessible to the public.

They also should recall that ples can seem daunting. and copyright still apply modern recognition that freedom of ex- in cyberspace. Some organizations and editors to ask tough questions about recommend that a reporter maintain sep. is really no way to take it back or to stop ings can be difficult. the Wall Street Journal. [ 51 ] . and their oping stories that have not yet appeared work product. provide a mandate to act independently Finally. they think. which could damage someone’s reputation. publisher of the legal right to be wrong—sometimes. privacy. Surely. or when us- ing information that someone else claims M any journalists believe they should not have to justify their role as gov- ernment watchdogs and as conduits of to own—such as a trade secret. Journalists should remember that consider other perspectives and to contem- friending a confidential source on Face. They encourage reporters in the newspaper. [ Media Law | Handbook ] Above: Social media raises new questions for journalists. pression is a fundamental right has al- Some news organizations have adopt. there for the ethical journalist. Therefore. partisan viewpoints on their personal They encourage journalists to examine Facebook pages or from discussing devel. And these eth- arate professional and personal Facebook ical precepts invite journalists both to pages. Once something pursuing truth. Reporters should others from using it in whatever way make clear when they utilize social media they choose. But social media pose new challenges has been posted to the social media. sites as the basis for a story. They may be construed as evidence of bias. of libel. 2010. how they make decisions. —even courageously—when seeking and lar sites is really private. discourages its But journalists’ own ethical standards reporters from expressing personal or can be more stringent than legal ones. plate how their decisions affect others. They should exercise special caution when using infor. book may reveal that source’s identity to Adopting and applying ethics princi- the world. But they help decisions to friend or to join a fan page journalists do the best job possible. nothing on Facebook or simi.  Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivered the keynote address at an internet confer- ence in San Francisco on April 21. some ed ethics policies for their employees’ use journalists think that they must have of social media. their motivations. Verifying post. their methods. The laws public information. Dow Jones. ready settled all that. Conclusion mation concerning minors.

S i r Wi nston C h u rchill British Prime Minister Speech. Citizen Journalists. House of Commons—1943 [ 52 ] . Hardly a day passes without its being extolled. that is an outrage. but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say whatever they like. and Bloggers ] E veryone is in favor of free speech. but if anyone says anything back.[ New Media.

[ Media Law | Handbook ] Ne w Med i a. Or are they? Balancing Free Speech and cafes to purchase licenses. Congress. or a transmitter tower. an expensive printing press. a modem. like na- world. Cyberspace. F rom the early days of popular use of In the United States. ruled. and a little software can share his thoughts with the world through a weblog. state the Internet. requiring users and Internet Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the [ 53 ] . subject gled to balance free speech on the Inter- to no law. ment licensing and control applicable. Bloggers are a law unto themselves. or blog. is neither a “scarce expressive cated. the U.” With neither of has been criticized for a combination of these historical justifications for govern- Internet control measures. and banning Competing Internet Interests Internet cafes. Union) decision (1997). and Bloggers he freewheeling world of the blogosphere seems like the last bastion of truly free speech. Anybody with access to a computer. ACLU (American Civil Liberties its use.S. the rallying cry was that legislatures. commodity. In its landmark to figure out how to harness and control Reno v. ing software. and new communication technology. But governments around the net against competing interests.” like the broadcast spectrum uses filtering software to block everything used by radio and television broadcasters. One does not need a lot of money. World Wide Web the same First Amend- ternet watchdog group OpenNet Initiative ment protections covering newspapers or showed that attempts to censor the Web other print media. Saudi Arabia. the Court are spreading and growing more sophisti. Supreme Gaining access to the Internet can be Court extended to communications on the the first hurdle. copyright protection. from sites classified as pornography or nor an invasive one that enters “an indi- gambling to religious conversion sites and vidual’s home or appears on one’s com- sites critical of the Saudi monarchy. A 2007 report by the In. including filter. have tried the right to reputation. China puter screen unbidden. C it i z en Jour nal i s t s. And many of the intensely personal and highly opinionated weblogs prolif- erating on the Internet inhabit a world apart from the sometimes-dreary realm of meticulously sourced and fact- checked traditional journalism. shaken by the implications of the tional security. and the courts have strug- cyberspace was the new frontier. to offer one example.

the court ruled. the blogger could back as 1972. But many blogs are a ro- gages in gathering information and dis. apply their own [ 54 ] . As far course of litigation. ed this protection to those who operate based communication receives the high. which immunizes providers of freedom of expression in a democratic soci. Successful libel suits require proof of Holding Bloggers Accountable publisher fault.S. a are true.” or did he simply repeat an unsubstanti- So bloggers have First Amendment ated rumor? Did he rely on anonymous protections. with no fear of being sued? the publisher can demonstrate that the Absolutely not. may exist for links to third-party sites Copyright violations may be excused if or to postings submitted by readers. statements on which the opinion is based tuted “news. courts have interpreted broadly tion to pay any attention. Existing laws protecting ligently or with reckless disregard for reporters’ confidential sources might or the truth? If a court finds that he did. “The interest in encouraging cency Act. “interactive computer services” (ISPs) ety outweighs any theoretical but unprov. covering anyone who en. libel suits can be addressing the issue. even if a plaintiff proves the challenged statement false. material he writes himself. A blogger in scribed anarchist Josh Wolf was a journal. ing an opinion privilege. a the publication constitutes fair use. for the most part.S. They may have statutory pro. blog publisher can still be sued for any One need not be a recognized journal. the U. Although some laws grounded only in false statements of fact. Citizen Journalists.S. During the ist to invoke these protections. even if they exer- est level of constitutional protection. sources? Did he. cise some editorial control over that ma- cluding many judicial rulings defining terial. in other words. wants. Prior apply to blogs. Did he at- the lonely pamphleteer…as much as of tempt to verify the accuracy of the story.” third-party content. depending on may lose the suit. the language of the statute or the court In most countries. bust mixture of idiosyncratic opinion and seminating it to a wide audience. true nor false. consti. the United States can brandish the First ist because he was not “connected with or Amendment and Section 230 all she employed by” a news organization. limit coverage to full-time employees of No one can be sued for statements of for-profit traditional news media. Supreme Court face a protracted examination of his said. Those courts Section 230 of the Communications De. which requires vealed Apple Computer’s trade secrets. Most in- vasion of privacy suits will be rejected if S o does that mean that bloggers are free to upload whatever they want. der but the Internet does not. but a foreign court has no obliga- U. many pure opinion that can be proven neither are expansive. Web sites and listservs. “Liberty of the press is the right of news-gathering techniques. act neg- tection as well. showing that the underlying factual Their publications. federal court in the same state refused to U. in. from defamation claims arising from en benefit of censorship. restraints are presumed unconstitutional. will. Whatever immunity subject of its story was newsworthy. legal protections end at the bor- acknowledge that blogger and self-de.” But shortly thereafter. A Cali. Courts have extend- The Reno decision means that Internet. [ New Media. The same analysis logically would the scope of the First Amendment. the large metropolitan publisher. It can be hard to fornia court ruled that the state shield law distinguish between the two when invok- protected the identities of bloggers who re. unsupported allegation. he might not apply to a blogger. and Bloggers ] majority.

[ Media Law | Handbook ] laws. including [it] is available to all and sundry without any “service available to the public con- any geographic restriction. “[T]hose who post information on Europe recommendation to extend these the World Wide Web do so knowing that rights of reply to online media. Although traditional journalists Libel lawsuits are not all that blog- long have faced lawsuits and even crimi. tions who claim they have been the sub- loaded the story. even if the criticism is are vulnerable to suit anywhere their absolutely true. Statutes in many nal prosecutions in other countries countries make it an offense. Gutnick claimed that an by criticizing Islam. the court allowed him ject of inaccurate reports. When rights of reply. or even a where their work product is distributed. the Australian High Cour t decided any ar ticle available online can be considered published wherever it is read. Even though the alleged defaming ar ticle was published in the United States.” taining frequently updated and edited Above: Australian philanthropist “Diamond Joe” Gutnick (left) sued U. article published online by U. editor The Australian High Court so ruled of the Web site Malaysia Today. In 2006. when it allowed “Diamond Joe” rested and detained on charges of vio- Gutnick to file a libel suit. thus granting Gutnick the right to sue in Melbourne. words are read. of responses by individuals and corpora- ers in his hometown of Melbourne down. to “insult” or “offend the digni- it may surprise bloggers to learn they ty” of someone. which compel publication Gutnick showed that a handful of read.S. blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin. in 2008. [ 55 ] .S. the to file a libel suit there. was ar- in 2002.-based Many countries enforce mandatory Barron’s magazine defamed him. lating Malaysia’s Internal Security Act lian national. The chief justice European Parliament adopted a Council of wrote. An Austra. For example. crime.-based Barron’s magazine in 2002 for defaming him in an ar ticle posted online. gers need worry about.

nesses was insufficient to justify censor- ship. and freely publish respons. act responsibly. who could be forced to unmask read. Gatekeepers often support steps. download? The U. employment have always possessed the legal right to discrimination. with no legitimate interest in the than ever before. Digital Millennium right laws. to be online. It ruled that the risk their Web sites. less intrusive alternatives. and Bloggers ] information of public interest. whether sion of law. or print medium” testi- anonymously in vituperative online com. But there is a big differ. They update their blogs. Here. Protecting Privacy and Copyright such as admonishing witnesses not to I nvasion of privacy presents special chal- lenges in cyberspace. But many judges Copyright law presents separate chal- and legislators. surfing through court company or other ISP be liable when one or real estate records and publishing of its customers uses their connection ille- them online. statute’s “safe harbor” provision protects phone cameras and recorders will invade ISPs from liability if. sounds like a typical weblog. mony by any witness appearing in a class mentary. a ence between making an editorial choice California trial judge forbade the Orange because you believe it enhances your County Register to report “by all means credibility and doing so under compul. victims. others’ work without permission easier tion. publishing and distributing infringing Judges also express discomfort at the works. Should the telephone local community. They claim its wisdom. [ New Media. read the paper. zen access and oversight. they think. Under Section 230. An appellate panel eventually over- ers posting anonymous comments on turned this order. leaving the posters vul. in person. They without also stifling protected speech.” That courtrooms and post trial footage online. dia. demand that violators “cease and desist” instead curtail access to electronic files. enacted in 1998. or other illegal conduct. driven by fear that access lenges. ture witnesses from being influenced by ISP includes newspapers and other me. through audio or In addition. a practice they find both disruptive and Many bloggers already take these undignified. upon receiving no- [ 56 ] . others’ testimony. that news reports might influence wit- nerable to retaliation or retribution. often print access to government records and pro- retractions or modifications to errone. The owners of intellectual property will facilitate identity theft. They fear that bloggers do gally to post a copy of an .mp3 file for little except spread rumors. and manner of communication. edent outlawing similar prior restraints. The worry that citizen journalists with cell. would accomplish the same goal. violate copy. in September 2008. Information. they may question es from disgruntled readers. and identify sexual assault Copyright Act (DMCA). is that laws are not required to make them too valuable. once access be- ous postings. Other. injunction was necessary to prevent fu- tiff has made a valid libel claim. Citizen Journalists. judge to overlook nearly 70 years of prec- ate an unprecedented opportunity for citi. In theory. all the while hiding behind the was designed to address this situation anonymity that the Web permits. or dangerous. ceedings in the abstract. many bloggers engage video recording. Digital technolo- gy facilitates news gathering. For example. an ISP can action wage-and-hour suit brought by its be compelled to reveal an individual’s newspaper carriers. But the pervasiveness of the online media had convinced the trial digitizing government records should cre. comes cheap and easy.S. He concluded this identity if a judge concludes that a plain. electronic. But the Internet makes copying prospect of someone from a distant loca.

they “expeditiously” remove it. Although these are supposed media or publishes a blog. the risk is that subpoenas might im. [ 57 ] . the DMCA permits copyright governing principles should remain con- holders to use “administrative subpoenas” stant. legislators should follow the principles tivity. But the the process. They should not depend on wheth- to compel the ISP to disclose the subscrib. To facilitate creates new legal complications. Judges and to be issued only to curtail infringing ac. [ Media Law | Handbook ] tice that infringing material has been protecting the right to engage in anony- posted. The problem is that a prudent ISP will The emergence of the Internet as a choose to take down the content and leave significant communications technology the subscriber and copyright owner to sort and publication platform for journalists out their respective rights. regardless of established First Amendment principles affiliation or platform. mous speech. the public’s right to know. er a journalist works for the mainstream er’s identity. that have long protected the press and properly be used to circumvent the well.

it makes no dif ference under what form of government you live. Willi a m E. you are a subject and not a citizen. all the outward forms and structures of free institutions are a sham… if the press is not free. 1917 [ 58 ] .[ Free Exchange of Information and Enhancing Civil Society ] Without an unfettered press. without liberty of speech. B or a h United States Senator Speech in the Senate—April 19. if the mind is shackled or made impotent through fear. if speech is not independent and untrammeled.

and even their lives. down. protects every. Governments change. press with special rights is less desirable Once strong legal protections are en- because it invites de facto licensing of the acted. But public sup- I n this section. because citizens are the ultimate benefi- gan. the law should. The “rule of cur. The right ciary. [ Media Law | Handbook ] F ree E xc hange of In for mat ion and En hanc i ng C iv il Soc ie t y ourageous journalists all over the world have risked their livelihood. confusion and conflicts may oc- And that’s the paradox. But while a system of generally exchange of information. one. No matter how clear the text of today can be withdrawn tomorrow. Protection a legislature grants equitably. protect the news media from censorship and guarantee reporters access to information. [ 59 ] . special. It can also create a false sense of to ensure they are applied and enforced confidence. at a minimum. and even a free press are the best assurance that it the best law can be repealed or struck will be protected. to report the news and to bring accurate information to the pub- lic in the face of repressive governments and other signif- icant obstacles. When they do. the judicial branch’s law. That’s one of the reasons why some journalists are reluctant to lobby.” however defined. “Freedom of the press” is not just a slo. But journalism thrives best where the rule of law is respected. by gov- interest legislation that singles out the ernment and the public alike. The result news media for protection or provides the is a stronger civil society for all. How- ever formalized. including the press. right to know by encouraging the free versal one. A free press enhances the public’s to receive and impart information is a uni. of course. an independent judiciary is essential press. Judges who appreciate the importance of bad laws can also be enacted. we consider some orga- nizations that work to strengthen and enact laws that guarantee and strength- port for a free press should be constant en freedom of the press. A free press is best protected through a national constitution or by statutory or common law. the law. But. requires a national commitment. Advocacy Resources even for legislation that might benefit them. Nor is it only for journalists. like shield laws. interpretation of the law can be decisive. Protecting it applicable laws benefits everyone.

that assist the media throughout the world. Its pe. It de. and provides a searchable database of le. It conducts media training in developing countries. a private nonprofit organization. It has established a network of O riginally established as a project of the Centre for Investigative Journalism in Canada in 1981.ned.300 new- Clearing House. England.html litigates internationally to promote these universal rights. a virtual network of 88 spapers and magazines located throughout organizations that monitors the state of the Americas.org/ and human rights experts who adopted the Johannesburg Principles on National Security. countability and increased awareness of riodic reports call international attention international human rights standards. and increasing of information and expression. Although its original mis- free expression around the world and sion was to increase public understand- [ 60 ] . Among its goals are promoting ac- gal opinions and other resources. organizations. and has worked to rebuild key parts http://www. including Indonesia and Thai. maintains a database of media (CJFE) assistance resources. It lobbies and http://abarol.S. Article XIX is Eurasian Law Initiative (CEELI) based in London. Article XIX Assistance (CIMA) convened the group of international law http://cima. CJFE manages the International T he Chapultepec Project began in 1994 as a special undertaking of the Inter- American Press Association. this human rights organization is named for the Univer- sal Declaration of Human Rights provi- tion Alerts by country and region and a weekly Communique. CEELI was founded in 1990. judges and lawyers in Central and East- sion. [ Free Exchange of Information and Enhancing Civil Society ] Article XIX transmits that information to more than http://www. journalists. public transparency and accountability.org 120 countries. the U. sion that guarantees the rights of freedom Central European and of expression and opinion. It provides legal training for other ern Europe and the former Soviet Union. CJFE advocates free- media practitioners and experts through the Global Forum for Media Development. Freedom of Expression and Ac- A n initiative of the National Endowment for Democracy. gal liaisons. Its mission is to provide technical legal assis- awareness about and to improve moni. nounces attacks on individual journalists and the institutional press alike. to laws and actions that restrict freedom combating corruption. Among Center for International Media its many accomplishments. This NGO develops networks to raise A project of the American Bar Associa- tion. CIMA supports programs cess to Information in 1995. Chapultepec Project land. It convenes working groups. and govern.cjfe. a member- Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX) ship organization of more than 1.article19.org/ of the media in Sierra Leone after the conclusion of the civil war there. It drafts model legislation. in Prague and a number of volunteer le- including freedom of information laws. and conducts re- http://www. Department of State. tance to increase professionalism among toring of threats to freedom of expres.declaraciondechapulte pec. IFEX provides daily Ac- E stablished in 1986. holds Canadian Journalists for Free Expression events.org/ search. The group maintains a training institute ment officials.ge/about_ceeli. CIMA is funded through a grant from dom of expression throughout the world.

submitted friend-of-the-court briefs be.S.org CMLP has organized a network of law- yers and academics interested in repre- senting individuals facing lawsuits aris- E leanor Roosevelt and Wendell Willkie. rectly with democratic reformers in Cen- [ 61 ] . an annual report on http://www. It also files friend-of-the-court 2009. including Freedom of the Press and Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Freedom in the World. D. Although much of its work is cation.org gated many cases in U. It defends free speech. the project has expanded to press harassment. www. Massachusetts. which was founded in 1941 and is affiliated with the Center for Citizen is headquartered in Washington. including Maziar Ba- three cases. news releases. and it has sent missions and hari. It intervenes when local or These conferences have been instrumen. CMLP’s Web Internet Technology for Political Activists site provides a variety of legal guides. It has liti- http://www.C.eff.org journalistic independence throughout A group of foreign correspondents from the United States created CPJ in 1981. It Media at Arizona State University. include sponsoring a series of interna. The Chapultepec Project has dangerous assignments. in Repressive Regimes. tal in curtailing insult laws in several and it provides advice to journalists on countries.C. [ Media Law | Handbook ] ing of the importance of press freedom in this NGO conducts its own research into civil society. and San Francisco. an annual global survey of of all three branches of government. it published A Practical Guide to briefs in appellate cases. It publishes articles. It published Press Freedom and the Law (1999). and Attacks tional conferences with representatives on the Press. Athanasiadis.freedomhouse. It dom House. publishes a wide variety of annual sur- veys. and in July dia.cpj. makers. educates the public. through its Action Center. Newsweek’s Tehran correspondent. and freelancers Roxana Saberi and Iason tion that would curtail press freedom.. as well as a “threats database” that outlines current and pending legal Freedom House cases involving online media.S. courts and. http://www. innovation. EFF was founded in 1990 with offices in Washington. CPJ’s campaigns have worked success- fore the Inter-American Commission on fully to secure the release of journalists Human Rights on behalf of journalists in imprisoned in Iran. and resources to individuals domestic. but with a network of the world. EFF also fights for digital involved in online and “citizen” me. were the first honorary co-chairs of Free- ing from online journalism activities. Freedom House advocates globally for human rights and democracy. press freedom. B ased at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School in Cambridge.citmedialaw. mobilizes citizen responses to leg- islation. foreign correspondents are threatened. the 1940 U. It works di- consultants in more than 120 countries. edu. rights around the world. held emergency forums to protest legisla. privacy. special reports. presidential candidate. and provides advice to policy- CMLP provides legal assistance.org and is undertaking a new initiative on the internal issues media organizations face and the values that should guide them. the first comparative study of laws Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) related to press freedom in the Americas. A non-governmental organization. Based in New York. D. Citizen Media Law Project (CMLP) and consumer rights online.

IPI conducts indepen- tions to facilitate and promote this goal. ISLP’s volunteers have worked primarily ists’ Network.freedomhouse. D. around the world who work to promote ganizations. yers and policymakers.internationalmedialawyers. Latin America.. Russia. Based at Oxford Univer- Virginia. and expertise on media law and throughout the world based in Northern press freedom. press freedom and access to information countries through workshops. and India. particularly ducts training sessions for media law- on insult laws.org).org International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) http://icfj. which connects journalists with but the group’s mandate is global. Iraq. for more than 30 years. The WPFC has monitored press cation between public interest lawyers freedom developments at international or. Africa. Denied Campaign.org training.hu/). IJNet (http://www. it launched projects in Tunisia. org/). It operates the International Journal. [ Free Exchange of Information and Enhancing Civil Society ] tral Asia. Pakistan. Austria-based NGO trac- es its history to 1950. International Media Lawyers the Middle East. dom around the world.freemedia. monitors governments whose official ac- It also supports the creation of new jour. policy briefs. es. vidual journalists through its Justice sion. and IPI recounts the stories of indi- an NGO that promotes freedom of expres.wpfc. tions threaten media independence. Index on Censorship’s Web site is a re. Association (IMLA) and the former Soviet Union to provide http://www. http://www.islp. The World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC) (http://www. and its Watch List Afghanistan. among them. and Burma. Index on Censorship T his Vienna. the organiza- tion applies the skills of soon-to-be re- A non-profit organization based in Wash- ington. and pub. nalistic and artistic works and is under. it facilitates communi- 2009. freedom of expression. and other countries. Based in New York. in Eastern Europe. opportunities to obtain media training Among many other projects.C. source for current worldwide news on International Senior Lawyers Project freedom of expression. IMLA also con- lished authoritative studies. Central and Eastern Europe. It International Press Institute (IPI) is based in Budapest.org Its Death Watch publication tracks jour- O riginally founded as a magazine in 1972 by a group of London-based writ- ers and journalists. It works with grassroots organiza. seminars.indexoncensorship. Freedom House Europe serves as Free- dom House’s primary European office. with fellowships. Sri Lanka.ijnet. a consor- T he IMLA is a worldwide network of media lawyers that serves as a clear- inghouse for sharing information. missions to Bangladesh. such as UNESCO. and support. merged with Freedom House in sity in England.at www. and Paris. dent research into the state of press free- In 2009. Nepal. Hungary (http:// www. Index on Censorship is nalists and media staff who have been directly targeted for practicing journal- ism. ISLP’s and other assistance. strat- tium of 44 press freedom groups from egies. and international exchang. ICFJ provides hands-on training to journalists in more than 176 tired or retired attorneys to the legal and legislative issues in the developing world. offices in Washington.org/ L aunched in June 2001. It works to pro- mote and protect freedom of expression. lawyer volunteers have convened a con- [ 62 ] . IPI has sent advocacy and fact-finding taking a youth outreach program. D. (ISLP) http://www.C.

soros. including a notable Through its foundation. IREX is a Washing- ton. including an annual international partners that help support and advance Freedom of Information Survey. Chile. It reviews civil society development in more than proposed legislation. and occasionally litigates on issues range of human rights cases. D. those in some older democracies. a case argued group improve its advocacy on behalf of before the Inter-American Court of Hu- journalists facing defamation and related man Rights. It advocates. Founded in 1946. cross-border information flows. as a factor that led to Chile’s legal charges in the former Soviet Union.org). 2006 survey of government responses to tablishing global Internet norms and freedom of information requests. it empow. RTDNA spon- [ 63 ] . Mol- ered local groups to lobby for change to dova. and press freedom. freedom of informa- Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI).org/ini- on draft freedom of information and tiatives/justice/litigation/chile). oping democracies such as Albania. counterterrorism measures affect free- garia. provided legal briefings argu. Radio Television Digital News Association Open Society Institute (RTDNA) and Soros Foundations Network http://www.rtnda.soros. IREX’s Media Sustainability In. based in Lyon. also conducts studies.org/ E stablished in 1990 by a coalition of more than 100 privacy experts and hu- F ounded in 1968. particularly in devel- 100 countries.org (IREX) http://www.europe. press laws in Yemen. Together with its don.irex.org/ http://www. ISLP provided advice in April 2009 (http://www. PI monitors government surveillance partner. The and worked with the Center for Journal. It exclusively serving the electronic news provides monetary grants designed to profession.irex. Based in Lon- ment for journalists. dom of the press and the rights of journal- dex evaluates and quantifies conditions ists to protect their sources. Privacy International (PI) International Research & Exchanges Board http://www.C. IREX Europe. Through the ethics in reporting. [ Media Law | Handbook ] ference that explored China’s role in es.org T his New York-based private founda- tion was established in 1993 by inves- R TDNA (formerly the Radio Television News Directors Association) is the world’s largest professional association tor and philanthropist George Soros. For example. This standards. and has studied how the media laws in Slovakia and in Bul. Privacy International conducts research and sponsors programs on media and improve the political environ. It dustry in the United States and abroad. it tion. adoption of a freedom of information act In 2008 and 2009. study concluded that more recently ad- ing that the Sierra Leone criminal libel opted laws actually work better than law violates that country’s constitution. and Croatia. threats to personal privacy. for independent media in 76 countries. lob- promotes legal reform and litigates a bies. activities and studies the implications of France (http://www. OSJI cites its role as a “friend of the ism in Extreme Situations to help that court” in Claude v. it promotes strengthen civil society. including affecting the electronic journalism in- freedom of information and expression.-based international NGO that works to strengthen independent man rights organizations from 40 coun- tries. This NGO IREX organizes media training programs publishes a wide variety of books and re- and provides expert consultation to local ports.privacyinternational.

medialaw. ed States and elsewhere. EthicNet work of more than 120 correspondents in http://ethicnet. It tempts to bring greater transparency to lobbies and advocates for press freedom the workings of governments in Africa.  Collection of codes of journalism ethics organized by country. privacy. of the Press (RCFP) http://www. that maintains a 24-hour hotline offering free http://www.org Media Law Resource Center T he largest voluntary association of working journalists in the United States. an NGO whose and freedom of information law. and the Worldwide Press Free.cimethics. tions and other resources on media law It undertakes fact-finding missions and and ethics: defends reporters who have been impris- oned or persecuted.  released on World Press Freedom Day The Center has an annual conference. Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières [RSF]) Additional Resources http://www. and initiates litigation. and Washington. Online Resources Among RSF’s many publications is an Center for International Media Ethics annual January round-up of press free. and speaks out on be. documents. libel.org/ dom. http://www. promote First Amendment rights in the half of endangered journalists in the Unit. Thousands of as well as the RIAS Journalist Exchange journalists voluntarily embrace the SPJ in Germany. the Ujima Project at- nalist working in the United States.rsf. and publishes a monthly newsletter This NGO has branches in nine coun.C. RCFP is an NGO lo- cated in Arlington. Tokyo.uta.rcfp. and related legal fields.org/ F ounded in 1985. and a net. on ethics in journalism. RSF fights censorship laws and works to improve the safety I n addition to the organizations and Web sites listed above. D. as well as offices in Paris. gal guidebooks and handbooks on media greatlakesmedia. (May 3).fi/codes_by_country other countries. a “predators of press freedom” list  A resource page for journalistic ethics. law firms to monitor developments and initiates litigation. dom Index each October. information laws. September 2009.org  A non-profit information clearinghouse supported by media organizations and freedom. [ 64 ] . Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) http://www. which is frequently cited as the most authoritative statement of me- Reporters Committee for Freedom dia ethics in the United States. Code of Ethics.ujima-project.spj. [ Free Exchange of Information and Enhancing Civil Society ] sors workshops and training programs. mission is to encourage professional and ethical journalism in Sub-Saharan Africa.org Ujima Project F ounded in 1970. particularly those that have no freedom of court briefs. and open government.org A collection of databases.org/). It files friend-of-the-court briefs.. Virginia. particularly in war zones. provides training and presentations. New York. tries. files friend-of-the. the following resources offer a wide variety of publica- of journalists. It is supported by the RFCP also publishes a wide variety of le. Great Lakes Media Institute (http://www. SPJ lobbies and advocates for press http://www. and other information launched in legal and research assistance to any jour.

Weisenhaus. Selected recent books Glasser. Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law Vile.  The Documents and Publications web Shock or Disturb. Urbana.osce. 2008. John R. Ar- and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) lington. and ethical issues converge and to monitor changes in law or in journal.rcfp. Inc. Law: A Guide for Journalists and Media Professionals. Encyclopedia of the  The Center's primary function is to First Amendment. Present Organization of News Ombudsmen and Yet to Come. www. a simple and yet effective way of self.edu David Schulz (eds). IL: University http://newsombudsmen. New York. 2009. 2003. resident ombudsman. International Li- bel and Privacy Handbook.umn.org/resources/ for Freedom of the Press. The Right to Offend. An Ethics Tra- jectory: Visions of Media Past. access UNESCO publications. Thousand Oaks.. 2009. Kittross. Journalism. Hong Kong Media istic practice that may result. http://unesdoc. Charles J. 2nd Edition. independent.shtml Wendell. Doreen.silha. NY: Bloomberg Press. John Michael. DC: CQ conduct research in areas where legal Press. Christopher H. [ 65 ] . Reston. Carolyn R. [ Media Law | Handbook ] Organization for Security The First Amendment Handbook. CA: Sage Publications. 2009.unesco.org/handbook/index. Washington. David L.org/ulis/ index. (ed). 2009.. VA: World page provides the search capability to Press Freedom Committee. VA: The Reporters Committee http://www. http://  The OSCE resources web page includ. and http://www. Encyclopedia of regulation for journalists. Sterling. Hudson Jr.org/ of Illinois/Institute of Communications  A website devoted to the concept of the Research.html ing links to materials on Freedom of the Media. Hong Kong: Hong Kong UNESCO University Press. 2007.

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D e p a r t m e n t O f S t a t e B u r e a u O f I n t e r n a t io n a l I n f o r m a t io n P r o g r a m s http://www.america.gov/publications/books/learner_english. U.html .S.