Winter/Spring 2014 Silha Bulletin

Volume 19, Number 2

Below is the Table of Contents for the Winter/Spring 2014 edition of the Silha Bulletin.  Click on the title to read the full article.

Bulletin Winter/Spring 2014: Volume 19, No. 2
Download full text (PDF)

Cover Story: Fourth Circuit Rules Company Challenging Statements on a Government Website Cannot Litigate Anonymously or in Secret
On April 16, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed a lower court’s decision to allow a company that was suing a government agency to keep a negative report about one of its products out of a public electronic database to litigate its case in secret.

Campaign Finance: Supreme Court Strikes Down Campaign Finance Limits on Total Contributions by Individuals
In a 5 to 4 decision, a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on April 2, 2014 that limits on the total amount an individual can contribute to all federal political candidates, parties and committees violated the First Amendment.

FCC: D.C. Circuit Strikes Down FCC “Net Neutrality” Rules
On Jan. 14, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D. C. Circuit struck down provisions of a 2010 Federal Communications Commission order, commonly known as “net neutrality” rules.
FCC: Federal Communications Commission Cancels Study of Newsroom Operations After Outcry that the Study Would Invade Editorial Decision-Making
On Feb. 28, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission gave up its plan to go forward with a study of newsroom operations scheduled to begin this spring.

Defamation: U.S. Supreme Court Grants Statutory Immunity for Reports of Security Threats to TSA in First Libel Case Decided in 23 Years
The United States Supreme Court decided on Jan. 27, 2014 that an airline could not be denied statutory immunity from a defamation suit without a determination that statements made by an airline employee to Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) officials about one of its pilots were materially false.

Online Speech: Virginia Court Orders Yelp to Identify Authors of Allegedly Defamatory Reviews
On Jan. 7, 2014, the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled that Virginia law required social reviewing website to reveal the identities of anonymous online reviewers to a business claiming it was defamed by the reviews.

Online Speech: Bloggers Gain First Amendment Victories But Still Face Issues in Online Journalism
Bloggers achieved a significant victory when the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held on Jan. 17, 2014 that First Amendment protections in defamation lawsuits extend to bloggers.

Media Ethics: News Coverage of Transgender Individuals Raises Ethical Reporting Issues
Several recent incidents involving journalistic coverage of transgender people have presented questions about ways to ethically treat transgender subjects.

Media Ethics: Reporters Testing School Security Draw Attention to the Ethics of Investigative Tactics
School shootings, such as those that occurred at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. in 1999, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (also known as “Virginia Tech”) in 2007 and Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. in 2012, have led some reporters to test school security practices.

Media Ethics: Native Advertising Creates Ethical Challenges for News Organizations in Digital Environment
In the increasingly digitized media environment, advertisers have begun using new advertising formats in an attempt to get messages in front of consumers.

Copyright: Copyright Decisions Demonstrate the Perils of Posting and Using Visual Content Online
Two recent decisions by federal courts emphasize the copyright complications that can arise when media entities post visual content online.

Surveillance: NSA Surveillance Practices Prompt Reforms and Legal Challenges Throughout All Government Branches
Since the first leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden were reported in June 2013, all three branches of the U.S. government have faced ongoing questions regarding intelligence surveillance practices.

Silha Center Events: Spring Symposium Examines the Legacy of New York Times v. Sullivan, Honors Donald M. Gillmor
Leading defamation expert and Senior Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Robert D. Sack said that the entire modern understanding of American defamation law has been built upon the United States Supreme Court decision in New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964).