Thursday, October 9, 2014

The News Industry, Defamation and the “Bag Men”

The News Industry plays a large role on what information is being disseminated to the public through television, newspapers and the internet. This week's theme revolved around the News Industry and also the question, "What are the constraints on free speech and the First Amendment for the news industry?" For my case study that I presented to the class, I answered the previous question by focusing on a recent settlement case relating to the defamation of individuals wrongfully accused of conducting the Boston Marathon Bombing.

The main point that I discussed during my presentation of the case study was how “New Media” played a significant role of the information being broadcasted by the New York Post. With the New York Post stating that the “Feds seek these two pictured at Boston Marathon”, they were inciting that the two individuals pictured were subjects that needed to be apprehended. This statement of libel defamation led to a damage of reputation and even emotional distress to the targeted individuals. To support my argument of how defamation affected the individual defamed, I played this video clip ( class. The video is a personal interview that shows how emotionally distraught the whole situation left, then 17 year old Salaheddin Baroumm.

After my presentation, discussion began on how social media helped garner the unwanted attention toward the two innocent individuals. With the ability to instantly spread news through Facebook posts, Twitter Retweets, and other social media platforms, it is quite difficult to control the spread of information when exposed to hundreds of users. Racial profiling and internet hysteria were also discussed as playing a huge part in the wrongful accusations due to the horrific event that occurred.

Doskow, E. (n.d.). Defamation Law Made Simple | Retrieved October 7, 2014.

Holman, E A, Holman, D R, & Garfin, R C. (2014). Media. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(1), 93-98.

Straubhaar, J., Larose, R., & Davenport, L. (2014). Print to Digital Newspapers. In Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture, and Technology (8th ed., pp. 123-124). Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

U. S. Constitution, Amendment 1

Vamialis, A. (2013). Online defamation: confronting anonymity. International Journal of Law and Information Technology,   21(1), 31-65.

Wemple, E. (2014, October 2). New York Post settles ‘Bag Men’ defamation suit. Retrieved October 7, 2014.

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