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NCJ Number: 119201 Find in a Library
Title: Legal Issues in Media Relations
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:58  Issue:7  Dated:(July 1989)  Pages:24-30
Author(s): J Higginbotham
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 27
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
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Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
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Document: PDF
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Various legal issues must be considered when developing a media relations policy because the public's interest in receiving information sometimes directly conflicts with effective law enforcement.
Abstract: The origins of the media's constitutional right to access news began in the 1972 Supreme Court case of Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665 (1972). Of particular significance for law enforcement, the Court ruled that the media had no constitutional right of access to the scenes of crime or disaster when the general public is excluded. Courts consider two questions in determining the scope of media access: (1) Is it predicated on a historical tradition of openness and will it play a positive role in the functioning of the criminal justice process? and (2) Is the particular law enforcement function or activity so important to the effective functioning of society that it may on balance be shielded from both the press and the public? Law enforcement officials should plan operations with the media's potential interest and presence in mind. A successful media relations policy must balance legitimate law enforcement interests and the public's desire for information. 30 footnotes.
Main Term(s): Police-media relations
Index Term(s): Media coverage; Press relations
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