Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Washington Post Reporter Receives Death Threats Over Articles On Trump

The Hill reports that Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold has received death threats after reporting on President elect Donald Trump. The Post hired a security consultant to advise on measures to protect Mr. Fahrenthold. Politico also reports that it has received death threats for reporting on Mr. Trump. The Hill reported earlier this year that the Arizona Republic received threats after it endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. An October 2016 article in the Atlantic Monthly reported on a rise in anti-Semitic threats on Twitter aimed at Jewish journalists. 


Mr. Fahrenthold discusses the reactions to his reporting, including the threats, in this article for Washington Post magazine here.

December 30, 2016 | Permalink

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission: Broadband Service a Basic Service

Jean-Pierre Blais, head of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), announced today that access to a minimum level of fixed broadband and mobile speed is a basic service for all Canadians.  The minimum speed that ISPs must provide is 50 megabits per second for downloads and 10 megabits for uploads. Here is a link to the transcript of Mr. Blais's speech.  

December 21, 2016 | Permalink

Monday, December 19, 2016

250 Years of Swedish Freedom of the Press @LawLibCongress

Elin Hofverberg, a foreign law research specialist at the Law Library of Congress, notes that December 2, 2016 is the 250th anniversary of the Swedish Freedom of the Press Act.


More here from In Custodia Legis, the Law Library of Congress's official blog. (Post by Elin Hofverberg).

December 19, 2016 | Permalink

Friday, December 16, 2016

Landrigan on the Constitutional Protection of Protests Outside Australian Abortion Clinics

Mitchell Landrigan, University of Technology Sydney, is publishing Protests Outside Abortion Clinics Constitutionally Protected Speech? in volume 41 of the Alternative Law Journal (2016). Here is the abstract.

This article focuses on whether, by banning anti-abortion protests in safe access zones, the legislation might infringe the implied freedom of political discourse under the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia. It reviews the buffer zone legislation in Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

December 16, 2016 | Permalink

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Curtin @AdamLawSchool and Leino on Openness, Transparency, and the Right of Access to Documents in the EU

Deirdre Curtin, Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance, and Paivi Leino, University of Helsinki Faculty of Law, have published Openness, Transparency and the Right of Access to Documents in the EU. In-Depth Analysis as Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Research Paper No. RSCAS 2016/63. Here is the abstract.

Upon request of the PETI Committee, the Policy Department on Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs commissioned the present analysis, which examines the situation in relation to openness, transparency, access to documents and information in the EU. Case law and developments in the jurisprudence of the CJEU are examined, notably for legislative documents, documents relating to administrative proceedings, to Court proceedings, infringement proceedings and EU Pilot cases, protection of privacy and international relations. Current and future challenges, as well as conclusions and policy recommendations are set out, in order to ensure compliance with the Treaties’ and Charter of Fundamental Rights’ requirements aimed at enhancing citizens’ participation in the EU decision-making process, and consequently stronger accountability and democracy in the EU.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

December 15, 2016 | Permalink

Friday, December 9, 2016

Retrial of Woman Charged With Murder For Hire Now Underway: Defense Alleges Police Wanted Attention of "Cops" Producers

Via @law_newz: The retrial of a woman arrested for solicitation to commit the murder of her husband is underway in Florida. The prosecution alleges that Dalia Dippolito tried to hire a "hit man" and former lover who turned out to be working with the police. The defense contends that she is the victim of an ambitious police department that wanted to impress producers of the "Cops" television series. Ms. Dippolito was convicted in 2011, but an appeals court granted her a new trial in 2014.

Livestream via LawNewz here.

More here from

December 9, 2016 | Permalink

Man Files Defamation Lawsuit After Individuals Claim He's Responsible For "Pedals the Bear"'s Death

John DeFilippo has filed a defamation lawsuit against a number of people (via. whom he says have spread stories on social media claiming that earlier this year he killed a popular black bear named "Pedals," known for walking on its hind legs. The lawsuit alleges that these individuals have published comments, including comments on Facebook pages, linking Mr. DeFilippo falsely to the bear's death and urging revenge against him. Some comments included a claim that he is a "bear murderer." More here from the Daily Record. 

The lawsuit also claims that some of the defendants have posted personal information about Mr. DeFilippo on social media. More here from ABC News.

December 9, 2016 | Permalink

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Donald Trump Will Have Executive Producer Credit On "The Apprentice"

President-elect Donald Trump will have an executive producer credit on The Apprentice, the popular NBC tv series, when it returns with actor and former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as host. Mr. Trump's transition team spokesperson Hope Hicks announced his connection with the show on December 8, and said that more information would be forthcoming on December 15th. More here from The Hollywood Reporter.

December 8, 2016 | Permalink

The Boundaries of Free Speech Online

From NBC News, a report on discussions out of the last meeting of the Global Network Initiative, and analyses of the possibilities of curbing hateful speech, fake news, and harassment online. 

December 8, 2016 | Permalink

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Carroll @erinccarroll13 on Balancing Newsworthiness and Privacy in the Age of Algorithms

Erin C. Carroll, Georgetown University Law Center, has published Making News: Balancing Newsworthiness and Privacy in the Age of Algorithms. Here is the abstract.

In deciding privacy lawsuits against media defendants, courts have for decades deferred to the media. They have given it wide berth to determine what is newsworthy and so, what is protected under the First Amendment. And in doing so, they have often spoken reverently of the editorial process and journalistic decision-making. Yet, in just the last several years, news production and consumption has changed dramatically. As we get more of our news from digital and social media sites, the role of information gatekeeper is shifting from journalists to computer engineers, programmers, and app designers. The algorithms that the latter write and that underlie Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms are not only influencing what we read but are prompting journalists to approach their craft differently. While the Restatement (Second) of Torts says that a glance at any morning newspaper can confirm what qualifies as newsworthy, this article argues that the modern-day corollary (which might involve a glance at a Facebook News Feed) is not true. If we want to meaningfully balance privacy and First Amendment rights, then courts should not be so quick to defer to the press in privacy tort cases, especially given that courts’ assumptions about how the press makes newsworthiness decisions may no longer be accurate. This article offers several suggestions for making better-reasoned decisions in privacy cases against the press.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

December 3, 2016 | Permalink

Friday, December 2, 2016

Call For Nominations: 2017 Anthony Shadid Award, Center For Journalism Ethics

Center for Journalism Ethics Announces
2017 Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Journalism Ethics seeks nominations for the Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics. Nominations are now being accepted for ethical decisions in reporting stories in any journalistic medium, including, print, broadcast and digital, by those working for established news organizations or publishing individually. Individuals or news organizations may nominate themselves or others.

The award focuses on current journalism and does not include books, documentaries and other long-term projects. Entries should involve reporting done for stories that were published or broadcast in 2016.

The award includes a $1,000 prize and travel expenses to accept the award and discuss the reporting at a ceremony in Washington D.C.

Judging committee chair Jack Mitchell says this award differs from other journalism prizes in its emphasis on ethical decision-making, “We seek outstanding reporting, of course, but will make our selection on how thoughtfully reporters and editors dealt with the ethical dilemmas they encountered in doing that reporting.”
Previous winners of the award include:
  • 2016: Martha Mendoza, Margie Mason, Robin McDowell and Esther Htusan, Associated Press
  • 2015: David Jackson, Gary Marx and Duaa Eldeib, Anthony Souffle, Chicago Tribune
  • 2014: Adam Goldman, Matt Apuzzo and Ted Bridis, Associated Press 

A graduate of UW-Madison, Shadid died in 2012 on a reporting assignment in Syria for the New York Times. He won two Pulitzer Prizes for his courageous and insightful foreign correspondence. Shadid sat on the ethics center's advisory board and strongly supported its efforts to promote public interest journalism and to stimulate discussion about journalism ethics.
How to submit a nomination

December 2, 2016 | Permalink