Communication Law Worksheet
1. Communication Law is primarily about the First Amendment. What different types of speech can you identify that may have different protection under the first amendment?
Under the First Amendment, communication law varies as the types of speech have been given different levels of protection by the court. For instance, the Court has mainly been protective of political speech while less protective of other forms of communication like commercial speech. People have superior freedom in talking about politics than they do about other matters in a number of different ways. An example of this is that persons are not given the right by the First Amendment to lie about others (Pember & Calvert, 2011). In case one is found telling lies about you in either speech or writing, you have the right to take legal action against the person and gather financial damages from the person for insulting your personality.
Nevertheless, in a case where one is a public executive, he or she will have to meet a higher lawful standard to collect his or her money. A wide protection has also been given for the things that broadcasted or written throughout the political campaign process. This is to an extent of even supporting the right of candidates to spend as much of their personal money as they can.
On the other hand, Commercial Speech like advertising gets more First Amendment protection than obscenity and skirmishing words. The speech however has less protection as compared to political public speaking (Pember & Calvert, 2011).
2. Name and discuss three of the first amendment theories found in the text.
The first theory involved in the First Amendment is the marketplace that was introduced in the year 1644 by John Milton. This theory proposes that all ideas must be allowed to be published into the public marketplace. The suggestions would then be personally considered and compared to other proposals in the marketplace. The outcome would be a discussion in which the available suggestions would be argued and from which the recognizable truth come out (Pember & Calvert, 2011). It is supposed that the public would manage to select the idea that would be the most appropriate from the huge number for realistic reasons. The marketplace thoughts apply that the government must either approve a laissez-faire strategy toward media content or support variety among intervened communication as it supposes an open forum.
Another theory in the First Amendment is about the total freedom of political speech as argued by Alexander Meiklejohn during the early 1960s. This theory concerning complete freedom of political speech suggested that the government must under no circumstances restrain or disrupt any speech concerning the ruling of the society, state or nation or self (Pember & Calvert, 2011). The speech comprised social, religious, scientific, moral, artistic and political speeches.
The third theory is the public access theory which was proposed by Jerome Barron in the year 1967. In this theory, it is assumed that the idea of the First Amendment is to permit the public to honestly say the various contrasting observations concerning a public matter. The assumed reason, whose basis can be observed in the market place of ideas and the total political speech theories, therefore means that the common public must be assured access to various media for it to say the ideas. Perhaps this theory is the most evidently marked theory in broadcasting regulation (Pember & Calvert, 2011).
3. What does prior restraint mean? Why is it important?
Prior restraint refers to an authorized limitation of speech proceeding to publication. It is an illegal effort to stop broadcast or publication of any kind of report that is on free speech and free press banned by the First Amendment to the constitution. Its importance is that under it, the government may not hold back a certain expression prior to its broadcasting even if the same expression could be constitutionally exposed to the penalty after broadcasting (Pember & Calvert, 2011). It is in the most excessive situations only that the government can constitutionally stop a person from talking or expressing himself.
It would be censorship to do so and the values for taking such a tremendous act bring about the heaviest load in the law of constitution. This prior restraint doctrine therefore revolves not on the content or substantive quality of the specific expression but completely on the nature and type of governmental regulation of the expression. The doctrine supposes that prior restraints are more destructive to free speech interests than are other kinds of rules like criminal trials or the enforcing of civil liability.
Even though the prior restraint doctrine passes through Supreme Court rhetoric, the conclusions of the Court disclose irregularities in the applications of the doctrines. The Court has condemned regulation exclusively because it came into a form of a prior restraint (Pember & Calvert, 2011). Another important part of it is that the doctrines undue stresses on the made-up harms of prior restraints in comparison to those of consequent penalty. This system has frequently diverted judicial concentration away from the major substantive danger. Therefore, it affects first amendment rights posed by specific regulation in subject.
Therefore, depending on the prior restraint doctrine regularly has resulted into the conclusion that consequent punishment in particular prior restraint circumstances would be acceptable or has left the matter without a solution resulting into a likely chilling outcome. Lack of any detailed judicial analysis of the true rationale following the prior restraint doctrine causes the evident doctrinal irregularities and uncertainties (Pember & Calvert, 2011). All types of media whether electronic or print are subject to the courts despite the rigid variations. Since the judicial system has regularly changed its philosophies concerning the amendment all through the media history, it is hard to tell how the courts will understand the First Amendment for a particular media situation.
Pember, D. R., & Calvert, C. (2011). Mass media law (17th Ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill Press.