Media law consists of substantive laws that affect the news media. Beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s, journalists in the United States extended their watchdog role from covering government to investigating corporations. That expansion directly affected corporate reputation because for the first time on a widespread basis, investigative journalists were shining a light onto previously private corporate behavior.

By and large, the courts protect the right of the media to report on matters of importance to the public. Media investigations into government activities are obviously vital to a working democracy. But knowledge of corporate activity can be equally important given the size and influence of corporations today.

Although many areas of the law affect the news media, this entry focuses on media laws that may ...

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