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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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16 Regulating Political Speech, Elections, and Campaigns

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CHAPTER 16

Regulating Political Speech, Elections, and Campaigns

From a First Amendment perspective, political speech is the most sacred form of speech. It is difficult for the government to restrict political speech, because such regulations are subject to strict scrutiny, the highest form of protection. Nevertheless, the federal and state governments have attempted to regulate political speech in certain forms. This chapter will address those regulations, including:

1. The constitutionality of laws and regulations that directly target election or campaign speech

2. Anonymous political speech

3. “Right of reply” laws, which give individuals the right to reply to criticism

4. False statement laws

The Constitutionality of Campaign Laws

The idea behind campaign speech laws is not to regulate political speech in terms of the exact content, but to regulate how that speech is financed and whether there is any accountability. The concern is that there is so much money invested in advertising and promoting political views or candidates that there is a possibility of corruption or a quid pro quo exchange of money for favors. The question, therefore, is how to properly balance the need to prevent corruption with the right to speak freely about politics. Congress and the state legislatures have periodically established rules to balance those interests, and those laws are inevitably challenged as violations of the First Amendment because they affect one’s ability to disseminate a message, whether...

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