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Mass Media Law’s Analysis Case Study

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Updated: Mar 27th, 2021

The law concerning protesting against a specific issue can be related to the principle known as the Tinker standard (Pember and Calvert 92). As the existing rules concerning protesting for veteran’s state, the protesters may voice their disagreement regarding a particular issue as long as the time, manner and venue chosen for protesting “are considered neutral” (Pember and Calvert 116).

The problem under consideration can be defined as a common law issue. According to the principles set in the First Amendment, the citizens of the Unite States have the right to voice their protests, as well as to hold the meetings during which they express their concern with the current state of political affairs within the country: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” (Legal Information Institute para. 2).

This right for involvement into the political affairs of the United States was documented in the Constitution of the United States after the famous case concerning the protest against the War in Vietnam. Started by two students, Christopher Eckhardt and Mary Beth Tinker, the protest resulted in a major court case, which, in its turn, triggered the decision to allow public protesting as long as it did not disrupt the public life (Pember and Calvert 92).

Also known as the Tinker standard (Pember and Calvert 92), the case in point has set the principle, in accordance with which public protests can be hold once they comply with the basic principles of human rights. It should be born in mind, though, that the burning of the American flag, which was carried out by the veterans, can be viewed as a major obstacle to justifying the protest. Indeed, the existing regulations show that the specified action is defined as flag desecration can be interpreted as an affront of the citizen of the United States, as well as the disdain for the law.

It should be born in mind, though, that the process of flag burning, while admittedly bearing an extremely negative implication for the opponents of the protesters, is not viewed as a misdemeanor in the United States. Though the attempts to promote the flag desecration amendment in the present-day set of rules and regulations have taken place, the effects of these endeavors were futile. At present, the flag burning cannot be deemed as a crime.

While the protest itself did not bear any threat to the bystanders and did not presuppose any violent actions towards the opponents, it should still be born in mind that the embers of the protest burnt the American flag, which can be defined as the disdain for the law. The desecration of the flag is not viewed as a punishable offense, though; hence, the participants of the protest cannot be arrested. From the legal perspective, the veterans have not committed anything that can be interpreted as a crime.

The issue regarding the disclosure of information on the possible health risk and the restrictions imposed on the information carrier, described in the specified case, fall under the category of the common law. As far as the specific area of media law, which the problem in question can be related to, the privacy issue should be touched upon.

Indeed, according to the set of principles regarding privacy and the security of personal data, it is essential that the personal information of the people partaking in the event described in social media is not to be disclosed.

As Pember and Calvert state, the guarantees of the First Amendment are to be applied to social media, including the traditional and the modern ones: “Our Constitution has survived more than two centuries” (Pember and Calvert 43). Therefore, the principles listed in the Constitution are to be applicable in the specified case as well. After all, the student, who caught the disease, cannot be accused of being the carrier of a virus and, therefore, spreading the disease.

As Pember and Calvert claim, the contraction of a disease cannot be interpreted as a voluntary state: “Giving birth is a voluntary status: catching a disease is not” (Pember and Calvert 4). Thus, the case in point has to be assessed from a specific perspective. However, seeing that the personal information was retained, yet the article was still canceled, the basic idea of freedom of speech seems to have been violated. Moreover, the fact that people have the right to know about the threat to their health deserves to be mentioned.

Based on the principles listed above, the case regarding the ban of the article should be resolved in favor of the journalist. The latter has complied with the right or privacy, which the student, as a citizen of the United States, was entitled to. True, there has been a minor conflict, yet it was settled in an orderly and reasonable fashion. Hence, demanding that the journalist should pull the article from the newspaper is unreasonable. Seeing that publishing the article means providing essential information regarding public health, it is imperative that the article should be released.

Works Cited

Legal Information Institute. “Cornell University Law School. n. d. Web.

Pember, Don R. and Clay Calvert. Mass Media Law. 18th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2013. Print.

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