Archive for Unit 4 Concepts

Freedom of Information Act

By Katherine Woods

We all have a right to know, that is the main goal of the Freedom of Information Act, that took effect  in 1967 under President Johnson. This act was created so that people could not only gain access to government information but have the right to do so. This act also makes the government accountable for publishing various records to be made public. This allows us citizens to remain knowledgeable about our government and strengthens our involvement in it.

http://middletownpress.com/articles/2012/11/10/news/doc509de85319a81638476929.txt

This article talks about how in Connecticut the state Freedom of Information Act requires public schools to send in the copies of they’re school districts superintendent contracts. They conducted a test to see how fast return results were and when a problem of timeliness in return appeared further questioning for the reasons of lateness were investigated. This information was then made readily available to the public.

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Freedom of Information Act

Kristin Marquardt

The Freedom of Information Act is a law that lets people apply to access information protected by the government. It gives the right for people to access whole or partial records.

It was enacted by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966, and took effect July 5th, 1967.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Department_of_Justice_v._Landano

This is about a murder trial that had some questioning about what should be confidential, but in the end ” The court thus remanded the case to the Circuit Courts and rejected the FBI’s claim of confidentiality as being a valid reason to withhold information” and used the files.

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Differences in free speech rights for print and broadcast media

Differences in free speech rights for print and broadcast media (such as Fairness Doctrine and FCC Indecency standard) 

By Katherine Woods

Free speech is a constitutional right but is often misunderstood or abused, laws such as the Fairness Doctrine and the FCC Indecency standard help to fairly and decently regulate what is said through the media.

FCC stands for The Federal Communications Commission, this is a program run by the government that helps to regulate the use of profanity, vulgar language, and other material that has no educational value. The FCC works towards six goals in the areas of broadband, competition, the spectrum, the media, public safety and homeland security.

The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949 and ended in the 1980s and did not apply to print media. It required the holders of broadcast licenses to show both sides of the “story”. This included any topic that was considered substantial, controversial or concerning politics.The doctrine did not require equal time for opposing views but required that contrasting viewpoints be presented. The main goal was to inform the public with more than one viewpoint, and to remain unbiased.

In the end the Fairness Doctrine simply prevents bias media while the FCC prevents highly sexualized content from being aired, especially to younger audiences. This news clip from PBS News Hour talks about the extremes that the FCC is considering and has done to regulate indecency and how companies have fought back. Including internet websites, cable tv, and even phone companies.

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The Freedom of Information Act

By Erik Hinch

The Freedom of Information Act is a law that was signed into law by former President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966.  Essentially, the proposal was made because many people felt they had a right to know certain aspects of business that were formerly kept from them and dealt with completely by the government.  With this law, millions of documents that would have been previously unreleased have now been fully or partially disclosed to the public.  This has brought to light many business practices, trade secrets, and other government activities that the people hadn’t previously known about. It helps keep business and government more accountable for their actions.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/269619.stm

This BBC article talks about the infamous Iran-Contra affair.  Then-President Ronald Reagan secretly and illegally gave the Contras a portion of the sales made by the US government of military arms to Iran.  When all of this news was finally reported to the public, there grew great opposition to the government’s activities. So, with information like this now known by the public, it forces the government to be held in check moreso than it was before.

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Differences in Free Speech Rights in Broadcast Media vs. Print Media

By Erik Hinch

Broadcast media and print media have different rules for what they can and can’t do/say. There are federal restrictions on certain words that can be said in a TV show or radio program. They also can’t show things like nudity on TV either.  Many of these things are swear words.  If channels/stations refuse to follow these guidelines, they can be fined, or worse, they can lose their license to broadcast, which essentially shuts them down. For print media, like newspapers, they’re really not supposed to print things along those lines as well.  However, some poeple still do it.  They can also get into trouble for printing things like that.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/News/02/25/stern.suspension/index.html?iref=allsearch

This article here shows that Howard Stern, a popular radio personality, was actually taken off the air for refusing to abide by these guidelines.  Apparently, during his show, he had a caller on, and that caller used the N-Word, which is obviously a harsh racial slur, and is not acceptable. Clear Channel, the company that runs the station, refused to put him back on the air until he agrees to follow the guidelines as they see fit.

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Differences in free speech rights for print and broadcast media

Kristin Marquardt

Within the right to free speech, there are regulations for both print and broadcast media.

In broadcasting media, foul language and particular scenes and images are censored or cut out. They are also forced to follow certain codes, that prohibit things like promotion of drug use. Essentially, making the media “G” rated. In printed media, regulations include things like ‘information that would be useful to the enemy’ during war times, and things about abortion, religion and the economy.

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