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.