Week Seven

How the Law Affects My Use of Media

I think we’d be absolutely crazy if the law didn’t affect the way we see the media. It’s a huge part of how the media goes about doing its job, which is probably the scariest part of the media’s job being to hold those in power accountable for their actions.

I’m absolutely concerned about all of the issues we’ve looked at, and I thought Mediactive did a pretty good job of laying out all of the issues and  each way the law affects the media. I actually had a lot of these ideas introduced to me in JMC 402, Media Law here at the Walter Cronkite School, so I was actually pretty familiar with things like  copyright and defamation.

I think the book pushed my understanding a bit further and gave examples that I felt suited my everyday life slightly more. I’d say that I’m most concerned with defamation. I don’t want to do it to anybody, and I don’t want anybody to do it to me. I’d have to think that the best way to avoid defaming somebody is to make sure that everything you publish is entirely true. If the plaintiff has to prove falsity, I, as a journalist or any other sort of media creator, have to be completely sure that I am not damaging their reputation with falsehood. I also think that the best way to avoid being defamed is to be open. If I’m the first one to admit my mistakes and stay open, honest, and as Mediactive puts it, honorable, I don’t see any way that I could be defamed. I’m sure I’ve made mistakes punishable by Internet death, or cancellation, but I’d like to think I’ve grown from those.

Next, I’m still very concerned about net neutrality. I think that net neutrality would give Internet companies so much say in what we consume, and I don’t think that makes for a healthy media landscape. If we begin to put that power  in the hands of internet service providers, we’re giving them the exclusive right to determine what is easily seen on the internet and what isn’t, which is dangerous for obvious reasons.

I’m third most concerned about censorship, but less concerned about censorship from government. In my experience on the internet, censorship by the people is much more of a problem than censorship by the government, and I think it goes back, once again, to this idea of cancellation we have. We LOVE cancelling, and we’ll cancel anyone who disagrees with us. I’m thoroughly concerned about that to go along with some concerns I see from our government. News broke that Russia would be censoring the new Pixar film “Onward” and its depiction of a lesbian character. This type of censorship would terrify me because it’s regressive at best. Luckily, we haven’t reached that point quite yet in our government, but it’s always a possibility.

Finally, I’m not overly concerned with copyright. I think I’ve been well-prepared to conquer any tasks involving copyright. In fact, we recently had a lesson in fair use in JMC 460, and though the rules aren’t exactly cut-and-dry, it absolutely let me know that I need to remain on my toes for any possible infringements not covered by fair use.

Week Seven

Media and Law

This week I want to talk about censorship. Censorship can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some typical ones that people know of is “bad books” such as To Kill a Mockingbird or The Catcher in the Rye. But, censorship can be anywhere. It can be shown in social media to this day because Instagram, for example, has started a new algorithm to locate and analyze photos based on the amount of skin detected. This can apply to fitness gurus or perhaps athletes; and their photos are getting flagged. A person knows there is not a naked person in the photo but to Instagram it is deemed as inappropriate. The algorithm makes sure that less people see these posts once they’ve been analyzed by the algorithm.

Other forms of social media censorship is something that may actually happen in terms of the government and what they allow on social media. For example, if you go to China you might notice that there are certain things that do not come up on your social media or online search results. Because of these strict rules, even media found online can be blurred or blocked out entirely because it goes against their laws. If found posting this contraband, it can be punishable by jail time.

Another example would be Tumblr. This one has stirred up some headlines recently: Tumblr is censoring posts which contain female-presenting nipples. This was created to help keep pornography or inappropriate videos that people would report or find disturbing.  However, since this is affecting users who also do not post nude images. But, this change effected people who are trying to promote fitness, athletes, models, and even just regular people on vacation at the beach. There have been multiple times when this algorithm flagged post of people working out, doing yoga, and it kind of leads consumers and users of the platform to believe that even though its intentions are good, it is censoring their users.

Image result for female-presenting nipple
(via Google)

Due to the errors of these algorithms, posts that are G-rated have still been taken down. Memes have started to arise and bring some fun into the whole situation, though.

In the future, I probably will not make much change because I was not effected by this, however, I know one day I will be. When this day comes, I am going to fight back against the capitalistic-nature of companies deciding what I can and cannot say on my page. If that means that my account is banned, then that is when it is going to be my time to push harder. I believe that everyone should be free to speak their mind, even if it opposes someone else’s views.

I think it is weird how laws also effect what is put online. In a world where everyone can be in contact with anyone else, there should be some universal laws of the internet. These “laws” should not allow the voices to be oppressed, but instead, encourage those people to speak their minds. Nobody should be censored, be slandered, or put down in a place where knowledge should be shared and enjoyed for all.