Home > #4, Regulation > Regulation of Media

Regulation of Media

Over the last decade, regulation of the media has drastically changed as a result of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on 9/11. Post 9/11 the USA Patriot Act was signed into law, standing for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.” This law dramatically reduced restrictions on law enforcement agencies’ rights to tap nearly any type of communication. While some Americans feel they should thank President Bush for creating this law in protecting homeland security, millions of individuals are left feeling that their First Amendment writes have been violated and privacy and security has been completely breached.

In government’s attempts to control print media, journalists and editors have been jailed to demonstrate that these individuals are silenced. This often has a “chilling effect” on others who many have been tempted to write on similar topics and as an end result the topic matter is never fully presented to the public. In these situations, due to the paranoia of the government, often times only mainstream stories are depicted and these stories almost invariably make the United States look like the guardian angel. With the establishment of Wikileaks however, classified information that Americans have never before had intelligence about is now surfacing. For example, in April of 2010, Wikileaks posted a video from a 2007 video incident in which Iraqi journalists and civilians were killed by US forces. Videos such as these are now released often and Americans that have been shielded from such news before are now questioning their beliefs of their own country. Does it make this site acceptable and ethical?


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  1. tessdoez
    January 25, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    You have a good start here with your description of the Patriot Act, but your second paragraph is a little confusing. The US doesn’t have a recent history of arresting journalists for what they publish, are you thinking of other governments such as China? Please cite your source for this information, and specific examples to back up your claim. It is unclear whether you are supporting the idea of more government control or less. Is the Patriot Act something you see as justified or an infringement of American citizens’ rights? Please repost for credit with the above changes and a few grammatical or word choice errors corrected (note the different meanings of the words rights and writes).

    • Jill Waxman
      January 25, 2011 at 9:41 pm

      I should have been more clear about my statement in saying that journalists have been jailed over history for their often controversial stories. I found this information in the book and was not clear and specific in my writing that while this has not happened in the United States recently, it occurs in other countries such as China and in the Middle East. These demonstrations often have a “chilling effect” on others who may have written about similar stories and as a result not all information is accurately presented to the public.

      In regards to the Patriot Act, I believe that it can be viewed both positively and negatively on American’s rights and freedoms. In regards to issues of homeland security and safety of our country and ourselves, I believe it is in our best interest to allow the Patriot Act to “intercept and obstruct terrorism.” When the government comes across questionable information that could be viewed as dangerous, whether through following targeted, dangerous individuals or through other leads, it is acceptable for the government to step in and investigate. However, the law has also made it too easy for law enforcement to spy on people. By easing restrictions on the use of surveillance tools, the law can also cut too deeply into personal liberties and privacy rights.
      For example, in an NPR article published in 2005 titled Patriot Act: Alleged Abuses of the Law, a secret intelligence search held an innocent civilian for two weeks on wrongful conviction of being associated with the Madrid bombings in 2004. Brandon Mayfield, who had a completely clean record and was a practicing attorney in Oregon, was held for two weeks as a “material witness,” and was released after the FBI admitted they had mistakenly matched his fingerprints with one found at the crime scene in Madrid.
      These examples demonstrate that while the Patriot Act is powerful in it’s attempt to keep Americans safe and protected, it can also be abused with the government mistakenly classifying individuals as terrorists or threats to the United States. With the government having full access to almost every American’s life, they must force themselves to remember the First Amendment Rights that Americans are granted and try to respect these rights as well.

      • jilldanielle
        February 7, 2011 at 9:45 pm

        Hi Tess,
        I was not sure how to write to you directly so I decided to comment on this post from a while ago in the hopes that you would receive my message!
        For blog number 6 regarding the MSOs, I was having difficulty last Monday uploading it to the blog so I emailed my response to Professor Clark and she said it was fine and that I would still receive credit for it. She told me if the blog worked for me and I could upload it that would be helpful. I just was able to upload my response and wanted to let you know so that you don’t count it as late!

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