Winter/Spring 2010 Silha Bulletin

Volume 15, Number 2

Below is the Table of Contents for the Winter/Spring 2010 edition of the Silha Bulletin.  Click on the title to read the full article.

Bulletin Winter/Spring 2010
Volume 15, Number 2
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Cover Story: Supreme Court Strikes Down Law Banning Depictions of Animal Cruelty, Citing ‘Alarming Breadth’ of Statute 
On April 20, 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a federal law imposing criminal penalties on anyone who knowingly “creates, sells, or possesses a depiction of animal cruelty . . . for commercial gain,” saying it was overly broad and violated the First Amendment right to free speech.

Supreme Court News: Supreme Court Blocks Attempt to Broadcast California Trail
The Supreme Court of the United States issues an opinion on Jan. 13, 2020, that blocked the broadcast of a high-profile federal court trial on the constitutionality of California’s recently enacted ban on same-sex marriages.

Supreme Court News: Supreme Court Strikes Down Campaign Finance Regulation for Corporations
The Supreme Court of the United States struck down portions of a federal campaign finance law in an opinion published Jan. 21, 2010, ruling that the law impermissibly discriminated against the First Amendment rights of corporations to expressly support political candidates for political office.

Supreme Court News: Supreme Court Rules Defendant Has Sixth Amendment Right to Open Jury Selection
In a 7-2 decision handed down on Jan. 19, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the jury selection process in most criminal cases must be open to the public under the defendant’s Sixth Amendment guarantee of a public trial.

FOIA and Access: New While House Transparency Policies Draw Mixed Reviews
As he entered into his second full year in office, President Barack Obama continued to introduce new measures he said were intended to increase government transparency.

FOIA and Access: Ohio Supreme Court Strikes Down Trial Judge’s Gag Order
The Ohio Supreme Court struck down a gag order on April 13, 2010, that had been imposed by an Ohio state trial court judge.

FOIA and Access: Federal Judge Requires FAA to Provide Flight Information
A federal district court judge issued an opinion on Feb. 26, 2010, agreeing with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in a reverse Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit and ordering a list of private planes whose flights had been blocked from public view to be released.

FOIA and Access: Federal Judge in Florida Rules Mug Shots Exempt from FOIA
A Federal District Court judge in Florida denied a freelance journalist’s request for the mug shots of a man who had pleaded guilty to securities fraud after the judge determined that the guilty man’s privacy interests outweighed the public interest in the photos’ release in a Dec. 14, 2009 decision.

FOIA and Access: State Courts Side with Public in Open Meetings, Records Disputes
State Supreme Courts across the country sided with news organizations, a labor union and a private citizen in recent decisions that clarified state open records and meetings laws, and mandated disclosure of salary figures and a court settlement.

FOIA and Access: KSTP Gains Access to Absentee Ballots
In a ruling issued Jan. 5, 2010, a Minnesota state district court judge granted a Twin Cities ABC affiliate the right to see and copy rejected and unopened absentee ballots from the 2008 election, calling the ballots “public data” for the purposes of the Minnesota open records law.

FOIA and Access: State Courts Adopt Varying Degrees of Access to Jury Selection
Recent rulings by state courts in Kansas, Nevada, and Massachusetts recognized the rights of the accused as well as the rights of the public by allowing varying degrees of access to trial court jury proceedings.

Subpoenas and Shield Laws: Kansas Enacts Shield Law; Wisconsin Bill Clears Legislature
Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson signed a journalist shield bill into law on April 15, 2010, saying that “we must allow journalists to perform their jobs without fear of prosecution and continue bringing the news home to Kansas.”

Subpoenas and Shield Laws: Police Raid Blogger’s Home, College Paper’s Newsroom
In two unrelated incidents in April 2010, California police searched the home of a technology blogger who had written about the prototype of a new phone from  Apple, and Virginia officials raided the newsroom of The Breeze, the student newspaper at James Madison University, while investigating recent student riots.

Digital Media: Federal Judge Orders Website to Delay Posting of Stock Recommendations
A federal district judge ruled on March 18, 2010, that financial news website (Fly) had misappropriated the financial recommendations of three prominent Wall Street Firms and instituted strict time guidelines for the site’s future publication of stock recommendations.

Media Ethics: New York Times Co. Pays Settlement to Singaporean Leaders
The New York Times Co. apologized and agreed to pay $114,000 to Singaporean leaders as part of an out-of-court settlement after the International Herald Tribune ran a story on Feb. 15, 2010 that included Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his two predecessors in a list of Asian “political dynasties.”

Media Ethics: Two Journalists Resign amid Plagiarism Allegations
In February 2010, two high-profile plagiarism scandals involving a reporter for The New York Times and the chief investigative reporter for the news website The Daily Beast resulted in the resignations of both journalists.

Media Ethics: News Networks Criticized for Practicing “Checkbook Journalism”
Several major news organizations drew criticism in recent months for paying sources or providing gifts in exchange for exclusive licensing or interview rights.

Media Ethics: Washington Post Deletes, Modifies Blog Post Critical of Paper
The Washington Post deleted a reporter's Jan. 27, 2010 blog post on the newspaper’s website that was critical of the relationship between The Post’s editorial board and a prominent local school official, and reposted a redacted version of the same story a few hours later without notifying readers that the post had been altered.

Libel: 10th Circuit Upholds Dismissal of Libel Suit Against Grisham, Other Authors
On Feb. 1, 2010, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a libel suit against best-selling author John Grisham and several other authors who wrote about two men wrongfully convicted of murder and rape in Oklahoma.

International: Google Suspends Operations in China, Citing Censorship
The Internet search giant Google announced on March 22, 2010, that it would no longer comply with Chinese government censorship and was suspending online operations in mainland China. 

International: Afghan Government Issues ‘Guidelines’ Forbidding Filming of Taliban Attacks, Citing Journalists’ Safety
On March 1, 2010, Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) announced a ban on news coverage showing footage of live attacks by Taliban insurgents.

International: Canadian Supreme Court Creates New “Responsible Communication” Defense
On Dec. 22, 1009, the Canadian Supreme Court vacated libel verdicts against two Canadian newspapers in separate rulings, and created a new defense for members of the public or media who engage in “responsible communication.”

Student Media: 3rd Circuit Issues Conflicting Rulings on Student Internet Speech
On Feb. 4, 2010, the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued two opinions that reached separate conclusions regarding whether schools can discipline students for material posted on social networking websites.

FCC News: D.C. Circuit Strikes Down Net Neutrality Measure
The D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled on April 6, 2010, that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has no authority to regulate an Internet service provider’s (ISP) network management practices.

Privacy: California Court Finds Right to Privacy in Death Scene Photos
A state appellate court panel in California issued  a decision on Jan. 29, 2010, allowing a lawsuit to proceed against a California Highway Patrol (CHP) and two of its officers for disseminating photos depicting a dead woman’s body at the scene of an auto accident, on the grounds that the deceased’s family members had a sufficient privacy interest in the photographs.

Privacy: Italian Judge Convicts Google Executives of Violating Country’s Privacy Law
An Italian judge convicted three Google executives of violating Italy’s privacy law on Feb. 24, 2010, after a 2006 user-generated Internet video of teenagers bullying a disabled boy was posted on a Google-maintained website.

Privacy: U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Hustler’s Right-of-Publicity Appeal; Georgia Legislature Modifies State Open Records Law
On March 1, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from Hustler magazine, allowing a right-of-publicity lawsuit filed against the magazine by the mother of a deceased professional wrestler to continue.

Free Speech: Blogger White Convicted; Two Mistrials for Turner
On Dec. 18, 2009, a federal jury in Roanoke, Va., convicted white supremacist Willliam White on four counts of criminal threats and intimidation.

Free Speech: 11th Circuit Rejects 9th Circuit’s National Internet Obscenity Standard
The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals released an unpublished opinion on Feb. 2, 2010, that rejected the 9th Circuit’s national Internet obscenity standard and instead applied a localized, “contemporary community” standard to affirm the conviction of an online pornography producer.

Silha Center Events: Silha Center Hosts Variety of Speakers in spring 2010
The Silha Center hosted a broad spectrum of events in March and April 2010.

A New Approach to the Silha Bulletin
Beginning with this combined Winter-Spring 2010 edition, the Silha Bulletin will appear three times each year, rather than four.