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Media Law

A Practical Guide (Revised Edition)

Ashley Messenger

Media Law: A Practical Guide (Revised Edition) provides a clear and concise explanation of media law principles. It focuses on the practical aspects of how to protect oneself from claims and how to evaluate the likelihood of a successful claim. This new edition has been revised to reflect important changes and updates to the law, including recent developments relating to scandalous trademarks, embedding, fair use, drones, revenge porn laws, interpretation of emoji, GDPR, false statements laws, lies, and the libel implications of the #MeToo movement.

Media Law is divided into five sections that help non-lawyers understand how the principles apply to their actual behavior: background information about the legal system; things you can be sued for; how you actually gather information; ways the government can regulate speech; and practical issues that are related to media law. This book is perfect for courses in media and communications law or a combination course in journalism law and ethics, as it covers both the legal and ethical aspects of communication.

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13 Efforts to Subpoena or Search Journalists


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Efforts to Subpoena or Search Journalists

There are times when a reporter is subpoenaed to testify at some sort of proceeding, whether before a grand jury, at a deposition, or in a trial. Other times, a subpoena seeks documents or materials, such as a reporter’s outtakes, notes, or other materials relevant to newsgathering or reporting. And there have been some instances of government officials attempting to search a newsroom to obtain such materials. This chapter addresses the issues that may arise in such circumstances. It will cover:

1. Whether there is a privilege from testifying or turning over documents if subpoenaed

a. Is there an applicable state shield law?

b. Is there common law protection in the absence of a shield law?

c. Are there procedural rules that might apply?

2. What happens if there is no applicable privilege and a reporter is forced to testify?

3. Whether search warrants can be executed against a journalist

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