Winter/Spring 2019 Silha Bulletin

Volume 24, Number 2

Below is the Table of Contents for the Winter/Spring 2019 Silha Bulletin. Click on the title to read the full article.

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Cover Story: Media Coalition Wins Legal Victory to Access Body Camera Video in Trial of Former Minneapolis Police Officer

On April 9, 2019, Hennepin County, Minn. Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Kathryn Quaintance reversed an earlier ruling in which she had limited public and media access to key evidence in the trial of fomer Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor, who was found guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after shooting and killing 40-year-old personal health coach Justine Damond in 2017.

First Amendment: WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Arrested on Computer Hacking Charges, Fueling Concerns Over Press Freedom

On April 11, 2019, British authorities arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he had been seeking refuge since 2012. 

First Amendment: Department of Justice Continues Mulling Policies Regarding Jailing, Subpoenaing, and Searching U.S. Journalists

In January 2019, a report by The Hill and testimony by then-Attorney General nominee William P. Barr, both fueled renewed speculation that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) was considering changing its policies and practices regarding jailing, subpoenaing, and searching members of the news media.  

Supreme Court News: Justice Thomas Calls for Supreme Court to Reconsider the Actual Malice Standard

In a concurring opinion filed in McKee v. Cosby, 586 U.S. __ (2019), on Feb. 19, 2019, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas called for the Court to revisit the actual malice standard, which was created in New York Times v. Sullivan and requires proof that defendants knowingly made false statements or made statements with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity.  

Defamation: Federal Judge Dismisses Defamation Lawsuit Against BuzzFeed News; News Organizations Face Significant Defamation Lawsuits and Settlements

In the winter of 2018/2019, a federal judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed News amidst several individuals filing multi-million dollar lawsuits against major media organizations. 

Reporters in Danger: Journalists in the U.S. and Abroad Continue to Face Violence and Imprisonment; U.S. Court Holds Syria Liable for Role in Journalist’s 2012 Death

Journalists in the U.S. and abroad continued to face violence and incarceration in the beginning of 2019.  Continue reading.

First Amendment: Fourth Circuit and Western District of Wisconsin Rule Public Officials Violated the First Amendment by Blocking Social Media Users

In January 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin reached similar conclusions regarding the First Amendment implications of public officials blocking social media users.  

Ethics: Actions by Media Outlets and Companies Raise Ethical Questions

In the winter of 2018/2019, several media outlets’ and companies’ practices raised important ethical questions.  

Data Privacy: Google Faces Renewed Concerns Regarding Data Privacy in the U.S. and Abroad

In January 2019, European Union (EU) regulators continued to grapple with how to regulate Google in several areas, including the scope of “the right to be forgotten” and data privacy.  

Data Privacy: Facebook Faces Continued Scrutiny Over Data Privacy and Cambridge Scandal

In December 2018. Facebook continued to face scrutiny over its actions and policies regarding privacy and user information.  

FOIA: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Prevails in a FOIA Lawsuit Regarding FBI Impersonation of Documentary Filmmakers

On March 1, 2019, Judge Rudolph Contreras of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP), which had filed a motion for summary judgement challenging the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) refusal to confirm or deny the existence of records related to the impersonation of documentary film workers, known as a “Glomar” response.  

Searches and Seizures: Journalists and Other Travelers Targeted at U.S. Borders, Creating More Confusion and Lawsuits

In the winter of 2018/2019, the targeting of journalists and other travelers at U.S. borders by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continued to be the subject of media reports, lawsuits, and advocacy organization action. 

Ag-Gag Laws: Federal Judge Strikes Down Iowa’s “Ag-Gag” Law; Coalition of Animal Rights Groups Challenges Nation’s Oldest “Ag-Gag” Law

In the winter of 2018/2019, state “ag-gag” laws continued to be the target of federal court rulings and lawsuits.  

Silha Center Events: 2019 Spring Forum Tackles Balancing Freedom of the Press and the Right to a Fair Trial

On April 30, 2019, the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law and the Minnesota Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) hosted the 2019 Silha Center Spring Forum titled “Free Press - Fair Trial: The Ethics of Writing Wrongs.”