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Fall 2020 Silha Bulletin
Below is the Table of Contents for the Fall 2020 edition of the Silha Bulletin. Click on the title to read the full article.
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A Message from the Director
The Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law has produced a special report and analysis of media law issues arising from the extraordinary assault on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021.
Cover Story: Events Surrounding the U.S. Capitol Insurrection Raise Significant Media Law Issues and Questions
On Jan. 6, 2021, President Donald Trump spoke at the “March to Save America” rally in Washington, D.C.
Protests: Ongoing Protests and Confrontations Between the Press and Police Prompt Legal Action, Ethical Debates, and Media Advocacy
In the second half of 2020, protests and riots stemming from calls for racial equality following police killings of Black men and women continued across the United States.
Access: Court Access and Medical Privacy Issues Arise in Wake of George Floyd Killing
In fall 2020, several notable access-to-information and privacy issues arose stemming from the police killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.
Supreme Court: Justice Ginsburg Passes Away; Authored and Joined Key First and Fourth Amendment Majority and Dissenting Opinions
On Sept. 18, 2020, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Supreme Court: Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett Has “Relatively Light” Record on First Amendment and Press Law, Legal Experts Say
On Oct. 27, 2020, Amy Coney Barrett was sworn into office as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, succeeding Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Sept. 18, 2020.
Misinformation: Concerns Precede and Follow Presidential Election
In Fall 2020, numerous concerns about misinformation preceded and followed the presidential election on November 3. In September and December, James O’Keefe, a political activist known for posting controversial surreptitious audio and video recordings on his website, Project Veritas, undertook separate efforts claiming to uncover evidence of voter fraud in Minneapolis, Minn. and anti-conservative bias by CNN and its employees.
Ethics: National and Local News Outlets Face and Address Ethical Questions and Dilemmas
In fall 2020, news outlets across the United States faced a variety of ethical questions and dilemmas, prompting commentary, and in some cases criticism, from media ethics observers.
Prior Restraint: Courts Reject Efforts to Block or Impede Publication of Books about President Trump
In summer 2020, President Donald Trump’s family and administration sought to block or impede publication of three books about him.
Defamation: Developments in Two Defamation Lawsuits Against Minnesota News Media
In the second half of 2020, two major developments occurred in libel lawsuits involving Minnesota news media.
Defamation: Courts Rule on Defamation Lawsuits Against The New York Times, Fox News, President Donald Trump
In the second half of 2020, courts issued rulings in several high-profile libel lawsuits: Sarah Palin’s lawsuit against The New York Times, Karen McDougal’s lawsuit against Fox News, and E. Jean Carroll’s lawsuit against President Donald Trump.
Privacy: Ninth Circuit Rules NSA Surveillance Program Violated FISA and Potentially Fourth Amendment
On Sept. 2, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the National Security Agency’s (NSA) warrantless mass surveillance of American’s telephone metadata violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and may have violated the Fourth Amendment.
Silha Center Events: 35th Annual Silha Lecture Addresses the Importance of Documentaries and the Need for U.S. Law to Protect Them
On Oct. 19, 2020, Dale Cohen, the director and founder of the UCLA Documentary Film Legal Clinic and Special Counsel to FRONTLINE, the award-winning PBS documentary series, contended during the 35th Annual Silha Lecture that “[d]ocumentaries provide a brilliant platform for filmmakers to tell us important stories and give voice to perspectives that are often overlooked. Some of them are straight up news.