The University Of Tennessee At Chattanooga Communications Paper

DescriptionCourse Analysis
Course Analysis
Zachary E. Tillery
University of North Alabama
Course Analysis
In this class, I have learned that the development of communication laws has been tightly
linked to the actions of journalists and media professionals. In this course analysis, I will
examine the evolution of communication laws, particularly in relation to libel, slander,
defamation, and the use of cameras in the courtroom. We can better comprehend the complex
relationship between journalism, legal frameworks, and the empowerment of marginalized
voices by looking at the historical context and the effects of communication laws.
Historical Development of Communication Law
The core concepts of communication laws can be found in landmark Supreme Court
rulings that aimed to establish a compromise between the right to free expression and the defense
of individual rights. The Supreme Court case New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964), in my
opinion, is crucial to comprehending the principles of communication law. A public official
could only prevail in a libel case if they could show that the false comments were made with
knowledge of their dishonesty or with reckless contempt for the truth, according to the actual
malice rule established in the case of The New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (Watkins, 2022, p.91).
This rule sought to protect healthy public conversation while also offering some defense against
false and harmful claims.
In a later case, Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc, The Supreme Court made clear that private
parties had a lesser burden of proof in defamation suits, acknowledging that private parties have
a more restricted role in public discourse (Watkins, 2022, p. 97). This too protected healthy
public discourse.
Impact on Underrepresented Groups
The experiences of underrepresented groups have been significantly shaped by
communication regulations. A positive outcome that was created by communication law was the
FCC’s fairness doctrine. The doctrine came with the rise of broadcast media. The doctrine made
broadcast stations inform audiences on controversial topics with varying viewpoints (Watkins,
2022, p.162). Although the doctrine was eventually lifted, I think it made a step to diversify the
viewpoints of media and therefore helped marginalized groups.
Another example of communication law being instrumental in amplifying the voices and reach
of underrepresented groups is the integration of cameras in courtrooms. Although initially
controversial, the move provided transparency and allowed marginalized communities to witness
and engage with the justice system.
The acts of journalists and media professionals, as well as the changing sociological and
legal landscapes, have influenced the evolution of communication laws. The Supreme Court’s
rulings and laws concerning libel, slander, defamation, and cameras in courtrooms have been
essential in defining the law and defending people’s rights. These rules have affected
underrepresented groups in both positive and negative ways, but they have helped to create a
media environment that is more inclusive. In order to promote a more just and representative
society, it is crucial to continue critically analyzing and improving communication rules as we
negotiate the complicated dynamics of media.

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