Discuss the implications of the court’s decision on media and communication.

Freedom of Information

Complete a case brief on one of the court cases pertaining to freedom of information that has set precedent for media and communications. Select a case from the following list:

Freedom of Information Cases

Baltimore Sun v. Ehrlich (2005)

Food Lion v. Capital Cities/ABC (1999)

Kissinger v. Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press

U.S. v. Nixon (1974)

NY Times v. NASA (1987-90)

Justice Dept. v. Reporters Committee (1989)

Assignment Directions

Locate the full case and opinion online using the links provided in the Session 1 or a Google search. Then complete the following:

1. Read the case/opinion in its entirety. Then review the case/opinion slowly in order to gather the information for your brief.

2. Complete a 1 page case brief which organizes case information under the following headings:

  • FULL CITATION: Include case name (in italics), volume, reporter, page #, year decided. e.g. Ashbacker v. FCC, 326 U.S. 327 (1945)
  • FACTS: What is the story behind this case/opinion? Who are the players? Who did what to whom? Why did they do it? What brought this action to this court or administrative agency?
  • ISSUES: List the points or principles of law or administrative policy that arise in or because of the facts in this matter. There are usually one or two key issues. These points should be stated as questions that can answered yes or no.
  • DECISION/RESULTS: Answer each question with “yes” or “no” (and what was the vote? (if available). Be aware that there can be more than one decision (and you should have a decision for each issue raised).
  • RATIONALE/REASONS: List the reason(s) assigned to answer each question posed in the issues section of the brief. You should briefly state a reason the court or agency gave for its answer to each point raised as an issue in the action.

3. Conclude with a 1-2 page discussion of the following:

  • Interpret how the First Amendment is applied to this case.
  • Evaluate how FOIA or specific laws might allow or limit access to information in this case.
  • Discuss the implications of the court’s decision on media and communication.
  • Reflect on whether the majority opinion or ruling of this case has served citizens in a positive or a negative way.

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