Recently in Winter 2009 Category

NBC News producers and a Rwandan prosecutor apparently joined forces for a series of surprise confrontations at Goucher College in Baltimore where a man they said was involved in the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda was working as a professor.

Citing Impartiality, BBC Refuses to Air Gaza Aid Appeal

The BBC announced Jan. 22, 2009 that it would not broadcast a video appeal from a group of British charities on behalf of the civilian victims of recent fighting in Gaza. The announcement was met with immediate criticism and protest from citizens, members of Parliament, and other media outlets.

Lobbyist Settles with New York Times over McCain Story

Iseman Says Paper Lied about Apology and Retraction

A lobbyist whose relationship with former Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was the focus of a Feb. 21, 2008 New York Times story settled her defamation lawsuit against the newspaper on Feb. 19, 2009. Following the settlement, Washington lobbyist Vicki Iseman claimed that the Times violated the spirit of their agreement through a statement published on its Web site and lied about whether it apologized for its story during the settlement negotiations. The Times disagreed.

Pentagon Criticized for Mixing PR and Propaganda

Efforts by the U.S. military to merge “public affairs” information operations with those aimed at propaganda have drawn criticism from NATO allies in Afghanistan as well as the Defense Department’s Inspector General.

FCC, Other Agencies also Investigating

The first of three federal agencies scheduled to weigh in on the controversy surrounding the use of retired military officers as independent analysts on television news programs reported in January 2009 that it found “insufficient evidence” to support allegations that the Defense Department violated federal law.

High School Editors Face off with Principals

The student newspaper at Faribault High School in Faribault, Minn. returned to the presses in February 2009 after a fight over prior review resulted in the school’s superintendent suspending publication and students turning to the local newspaper and the Internet as alternative means of publishing.

New California Law to Protect School Journalism Advisers

As of Jan. 1, 2009, a new California law offers journalism advisors and other school employees increased protection from retaliatory administrative action for material published by their students.

Criminal Libel Charges in Colorado, Wisconsin

Authorities in Colorado and Wisconsin have charged three people with criminal libel in separate incidents all involving the Internet. The charges concern commentators who argue that it is constitutionally impermissible to criminalize speech.

A new bill aimed at protecting American journalists, writers, and publishers from defamation judgments in foreign jurisdictions with less stringent speech protections was introduced in the United States Senate on Feb. 17, 2009.

The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, ruled Nov. 12, 2008 that the “fair report privilege” does not extend to fair and accurate reports of a complaint filed by a debtor’s trustee in a bankruptcy case, at least until there has been “judicial review” of the complaint.

1st Circuit Rules Truth Not Always a Defense to Libel

On Feb. 13, 2009, the 1st Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston held that truth may no longer be a defense to libel in lawsuits brought by private figure plaintiffs under Massachusetts law if the allegedly libelous statement was published by a defendant acting out of “ill will.”

A blogger who was arrested and charged by federal agents with illegally streaming nine tracks from the then-forthcoming Guns N’ Roses album “Chinese Democracy” pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of copyright infringement as part of a deal with prosecutors. He is scheduled for sentencing on March 17, 2009.



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