Summer 2010 Silha Bulletin

Volume 15, Number 3

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

Bulletin Summer 2010: Volume 15, Number 3
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Cover Story: WikiLeaks’ Document Dump Sparks Debate 
The website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of classified U.S. military documents on the Internet on July 25, 2010, igniting a debate about leaks, law, ethics, journalism, and national security on the digital frontier.  

Supreme Court News: Kagan Confirmed; Provides Few Hints on Media Law Views 
The summer of 2010 once again included the nomination and confirmation of a new U.S. Supreme Court justice.  

Supreme Court News: Court Declines to Set Privacy Standard on Electronic Devices
On June 17, 2010, the Supreme Court handed down Ontario v. Quon, in which it unanimously declined to articulate a clear rule governing Fourth Amendment expectations of privacy in work-issued electronic communication devices, instead narrowly holding that a particular employee’s rights were not violated.  

Supreme Court News: In Holder, Court Upholds Ban on Speech Supporting Terrorism 
On June 21, 2010, the Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 that the federal government may constitutionally block speech and other forms of advocacy supporting foreign groups that have been labeled terrorist, even if the support is directed toward the groups’ humanitarian or peaceful activities. 

FOIA and Access: BP, Government Accused of Restricting Media Access to Spill
As efforts continued in the Gulf of Mexico to stanch the worst oil spill in U.S. history, news organizations accused British Petroleum (BP) of denying access to news agencies attempting to document the disaster. 

FOIA and Access: Limits Persist on Access to Guantanamo Proceedings, Records
The expulsion of four reporters from the U.S. military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, along with two court rulings related to detainees and the hearings being conducted there — all of which occurred in the summer of 2010 — highlighted the strained relationship between the Pentagon and U.S. media over coverage of the controversial base. 

FOIA and Access: Transparency Advocates Protest SEC’s New FOIA Exemption 
A provision in the financial regulatory reform act drew criticism over the charge that it unnecessarily exempts Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) information and records from federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. 

International: Canadian Justices Say No to Privilege, Yes to Publication Ban 
The Supreme Court of Canada handed down two rulings in May and June of 2010 that could have a significant impact on newsgathering there.

Subpoenas and Reporter Privilege: Appeals Court Narrows, Upholds Subpoena for Film Outtakes
On July 16, 2010, a federal appeals court limited a subpoena for 600 hours of raw footage from a documentary about an international lawsuit between Chevron Corp. and Ecuadorian citizens who allege the oil company is responsible for environmental contamination. 

Libel: Federal ‘Libel Tourism’ Law to Nullify Anti-Free Speech Rulings
On August 10, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage (SPEECH) Act, meant to protect U.S. writers and speakers against “libel tourism,” a practice whereby libel plaintiffs sue Americans — and often win large damages — in countries with weaker speech protection laws than those of the United States. 

Digital Media: Online Anonymity Continues to Challenge Courts, Plaintiffs 
In spring and summer of 2010, courts around the country issued rulings on whether websites must reveal the identities of anonymous commenters in response to subpoenas, adding to the growing jurisprudence on an evolving legal problem. 

Copyright: News Media Seek Legal Tools to Protect Original Content  
Legal battles continue between traditional news producers and online sources like blogs and so-called news aggregators, which take original content and republish it without payment or attribution to the original source. 

Copyright: Federal Judge Reads DMCA to Favor Google, Service Providers 
In a decision that could have sweeping implications for copyright law, a federal judge in New York ruled on June 23, 2010 in favor of Google, which owns YouTube, dismissing a $1 billion lawsuit in which the film and television company Viacom alleged widespread copyright infringement by the popular video-sharing website.  

Free Speech: Turner Convicted for Online Threat against Federal Judges 
Two bloggers whose inflammatory posts landed them in legal trouble have found little relief from federal prosecutors or courts.  

Student Media: Update: Settlement Reached in Student Paper Search and Seizure 
On May 31, 2010, the Commonwealth of Virginia and James Madison University’s (JMU) student newspaper reached a settlement in a six-week dispute over access to hundreds of photos of a campus riot in April. 

Media Ethics: A Reporter, a General, and the Ethics of Covering the War 
In the wake of a controversial article in Rolling Stone that led to the dismissal of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a debate emerged within the journalistic community about the unofficial rules that bind beat reporters, and the potential chilling effect the scandal may have on media coverage of the military. 

Media Ethics: GLBT Magazine Walks Perilous Ethical Line by ‘Outing’ Pastor Twin Cities 
A Twin Cities magazine’s “outing” of a controversial anti-gay rights pastor in June 2010 focused national attention on the issue of whether, when, and how the news media should report on hypocrisy among outspoken critics of gay rights. 

Media Ethics: Robinson Joins Campaign; Critics Claim Conflict of Interest
After 20 years at Fox affiliate KMSP (Fox 9), Twin Cities news anchor Robyne Robinson announced her retirement from broadcast journalism on May 11, 2010, shortly before being named gubernatorial candidate Matt Entenza’s running mate for lieutenant governor on May 27.  

Silha Events: Silha Lecturer Paul Smith to Discuss Efforts to Ban Violent Video Games 
In Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association, the U.S. Supreme Court will address whether the First Amendment bars the state of California from restricting the sale of violent video games to minors.