Winter/Spring 2020 Silha Bulletin

Volume 25, Number 2

Below is the Table of Contents for the Winter/Spring 2020 edition of the Silha Bulletin.  Click on the title to read the full article.

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A Message from the Director: 
This issue of the Silha Bulletin, produced by our graduate student research assistant, includes a special roundup examining how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected newsgathering and reporting.

Special Report: Journalists Face Arrests, Attacks, and Threats by Police Amidst Protests Over the Death of George Floyd 
In May 2020, protests in Minneapolis, Minn. stemming from the May 25 death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officers sparked media law and ethics and commentary.

Special Report: COVID-19 Pandemic Raises Media Law and Ethics Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities 
In spring 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to problems, developments, and changes across the United States and around the world, including regarding various aspects of media law and ethics.

Access: U.S. Senate and Trump Administration Impose Restrictions on Media Access
In January and February 2020, the U.S. Senate and President Donald Trump’s administration imposed measures limiting press access to various government proceedings and events.

Access: Twin Cities Media Seek Juror Names in Noor Trial’ Minneapolis Advisory Committee Allegedly Violates Minnesota Open Meeting Law
In the first half of 2020, access issues came to the forefront in Minnesota related to the 2019 trial of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor and a Minneapolis city advisory committee, which prohibited photography and recording at its meetings.

Defamation: High-Profile Defamation Lawsuits Target National and Local Media Outlets
In the first half of 2020, national and local media outlets faced several notable defamation lawsuits.

Leak Investigations: Julian Assange Extradition Hearing Begins, Delayed Due to COVID-19 Pandemic; Chelsea Manning Released from Prison
On April 21, 2020, Bloomberg News reported that the extradition trial of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ethics: Kobe Bryant’s Death Prompts Ethical Concerns Over Media Coverage; Twin Cities Station Parts Ways With Meteorologist
On Jan. 26, 2020, former National Basketball Association (NBA) star Kobe Bryant (Bryant), his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, and seven other passengers were killed when their helicopter crashed in Calabasas, Calif.

Reporters in Danger: Saudi Arabia and Turkey Take Different Actions Against Accused Killers of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi; Saudi Crown Prince Escapes Accountability
On Dec. 23, 2019, several media outlets reported that Saudi Arabia had sentenced five people to death for their role in the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Borders: Journalists File First Amendment Lawsuit Stemming from Questioning by U.S. Border Agents
On Nov. 21, 2019, NBC 7 in San Diego reported that five journalists had filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York against President Donald Trump’s administration, challenging questioning by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers about their journalistic work, activities, and sources on conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Searches and Seizures: Freelance Journalist Reaches Settlement with San Francisco; FBI Document Confirms Agents Present at Searches and Seizures of Journalist’s Property
On March 31, 2020, the city and county of San Francisco, Calif. reached a $369,000 settlement with San Francisco freelance journalist Bryan Carmody nearly a year after the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) executed search warrants of his home, office, and cell phone.

Ag-Gag Laws: Federal Courts Rule Iowa and Kansas “Ag-Gag” Laws Violated First Amendment, Dismiss Lawsuit Challenging Arkansas’ Statute
In the winter of 2019/2020, federal court rulings continued to target state “ag-gag” laws.

Tribute: First Amendment Attorney John Borger Passes Away in December 2019
Well-known First Amendment attorney John Borger passes away in Minneapolis on Dec. 16, 2019 at the age of 68.

Silha Center Events: 2020 Spring Ethics Forum Webinar Addresses the Impact of Fact-Checking and Misinformation on Journalism
On April 27, 2020, Barbara Allen, the director of college programming for the Poynter Institute of Media Studies (Poynter), a non-profit journalism school and research organization in St. Petersburg, Fla., contended during the 2020 Silha Center Spring Ethics Forum that “[p]ublic spaces that are open to free speech are being flooded with questionable information, political polarization, and outright lies.” The recording of the event is available online.