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UNC Center for Media Law and Policy

UNC Media Law Doctoral Student Wins Top Paper Award for NCA 2017

We are pleased to announce that UNC  doctoral student Shao Chengyuan has won the top student paper award from the Communication and Law Division of the National Communication Association (NCA) this year. Chengyuan will present her paper at the NCA’s annual conference in Dallas, Texas in November. Congratulations, Shao!

Chengyuan studies media law in the UNC School of Media and Journalism. She joined the program in 2015 after earning a master’s in communication from Beijing Foreign Studies University and a bachelor’s in English from China Agricultural University in Beijing. She has now studies media law issues in China, specifically new media-related legislation and the legal boundaries of online free speech.

Chengyuan’s paper, which was blind-reviewed in the NCA’s paper competition,  is titled “Internet Defamation in China: Criminal Cases Since the 2013 Supreme People’s Court Judicial Interpretation.” Here is the abstract.

“This paper examines the recent development in Chinese defamation law, specifically the establishment of a 2013 judicial interpretation by the Supreme People’s Court that criminalized Internet defamation. This paper uses the language of Chinese law and analyzes eight Internet defamation cases decided after the 2013 judicial interpretation on Internet defamation. The criminal cases analyzed in this paper showed how Chinese public prosecutors have employed the new legal rules in cases deemed as threats to public order and state interests, as well as how Chinese individuals, acting as private prosecutors, have pursued criminal defamation prosecutions against online speakers. This paper takes into consideration the cultural and historical background of Chinese criminal defamation law and argues that, in addressing the lack of free speech protection under the current criminal defamation law, Chinese legislators need to consider raising the standard of fault for public officials and eventually abolishing the “state interest clause” of the criminal defamation statute.”

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Center Co-Director to Join Discussion of Section 230 and Backpage.com

Media Law Center Co-Director Cathy Packer will participate in a panel discussion following a screening of the documentary I Am Jane Doe on campus next week. The film chronicles the legal battles of three young girls who were trafficked through the advertising website Backpage.com

Packer will join panelists from UNC Project Dinah, Project FIGHT, and the Orange County Rape Crisis Center to discuss the many issues surrounding Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the federal law that limits websites’ liability for content that others post on their sites. Section 230 has long been hailed as one of “the most valuable tools for protecting freedom of expression and innovation on the Internet.” However, the law has been subjected to intense scrutiny since the classified advertisement website Backpage.com escaped liability after it was revealed that some of the site’s users used the site for sex trafficking.

The panelists will address the problems and benefits of Section 230, including recent federal legislation aimed at amending its broad reach. Ultimately, the panel will discus the necessary balance between Internet freedom and user protections.

The event will be held on September 14th at the UNC School of Social Work Auditorium on Pittsboro Street. The screening will begin at 7 P.M. Admission is free. Attendees are encouraged to submit questions for the post-film discussion with the panel via Twitter, using @Project_NO_REST, #IAmJaneDoe. The panel will also take questions live in the auditorium.

For more information about the film, visit its website. If you have questions about the event, contact Jennie Vaughn at jsvaughn@email.unc.edu.

We hope to see you there!

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Welcome Our New Research Fellow, Rachael Jones

The UNC Center for Media Law and Policy is proud to announce that it has hired its first research fellow, Rachael Jones.  Rachael, who started this week, will oversee the Center’s research initiatives, with a particular focus on government transparency.

Prior to joining the Center, Rachael served as the Jack Nelson/Dow Jones Legal Fellow at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (“RCFP”). At RCFP, Rachael assisted journalists daily, and primarily focused on state and federal public records act matters. She has presented her research on free speech issues at the Yale Information and Society Project’s Freedom of Expression Scholars Conference for the past two years and served as a panelist for freedom of information topics for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Law and Policy Division. Rachael earned her J.D. with honors from the University of Florida in 2016, where she was a research editor for the Florida Journal of International Law. While at UF Law, Rachael served as a research assistant to Dean Lyrissa Lidsky and as an extern-clerk to the Honorable Stephanie Ray of the First District Court of Appeal of the State of Florida. In addition, Rachael has studied comparative constitutional law and dispute resolution at the University of Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. Rachael received her Bachelor in Fine Arts degree from the University of Florida in 2011 and hails from the Destin, Florida, area.

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Center to Hire Media Law and Policy Fellow

UNCI’m excited to announce that the Center will be hiring a Media Law and Policy Fellow!  The fellow will play a critical role in supporting a major research initiative at the Center focused on examining various legal and policy issues related to improving government transparency, including the impact government transparency can have on privacy, cybersecurity, equality, and other important interests.

This is a two-year position with a possible renewal for a third year. The salary is $47,476 annually and is accompanied by the standard UNC benefits package and health care insurance for postdoctoral research scholars.

Applicants must hold a J.D. or a Ph.D. We will give preference to applicants with demonstrated interest in the Center’s areas of focus, including journalism, First Amendment, government transparency, and privacy. Applicants should also have experience working with students, organizing events, and managing complex projects. 

The ideal candidate will have:

  • A J.D. and Ph.D.;
  • Knowledge of and interest in the Center’s work;
  • Excellent research, writing, editing, and analytical skills, including empirical legal research experience;
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills;
  • Experience with program planning, administration, and fundraising; and
  • Experience with website, blog, and social media design and content creation.

Applications will be reviewed beginning immediately and will continue until the position is filled. The successful candidate should be prepared to start no later than July 1, 2017, with a potential commencement date as early as January 1, 2017.  

For more information on the position as well as instructions on how to apply, please visit the official position posting on the University of North Carolina’s human resources site, available at: https://unc.peopleadmin.com/postings/108165. You can download a PDF version of the job posting here.

Questions about the position should be directed to medialaw[at]unc.edu.

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Media Law Center Welcomes Prof. Papandrea and a new Ph.D. Student

A senior scholar and a new Ph.D. student have joined UNC’s community of media law scholars.  The Center for Media Law and Policy is happy to welcome Professor Mary-Rose Papandrea and Ph.D. student Shao Chengyuan.

ProfPapandrea3Mary-Rose Papandrea came to the UNC School of Law this summer from Boston College Law School. Her teaching and research interests include constitutional law, media law, torts, civil procedure, and national security and civil liberties.

After graduating from Yale College and the University of Chicago Law School, Professor Papandrea clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter as well as Hon. Douglas H. Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Hon. John G. Koeltl of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. She then worked as an associate at Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington, D.C., where she specialized in First Amendment and media law litigation. In addition to spending over a decade at Boston College Law School, Professor Papandrea taught as a visiting professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law, Fordham Law School, Wake Forest Law School, and the University of Paris (Nanterre).

Co-author of the casebook Media and the Law (LexisNexis, 2nd ed. 2014) (with Lee Levine, David Ardia & Dale Cohen), Professor Papandrea has written extensively about government secrecy and national security leaks, the reporter’s privilege, student speech rights, the First Amendment rights of public employees, and the U.S. Supreme Court and technology.

Professor Papandrea has also served as the chair of the American Association of Law School’s Mass Media Law and National Security Law sections and remains on the executive committee of both sections. She is currently a member of the editorial board for the Journal of National Security Law & Policy. In addition, she has served on the board of directors for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.

ShaoShao Chengyuan came to the UNC School of Media and Journalism from Beijing, China. She earned a master’s in communication from Beijing Foreign Studies University and a bachelor’s in English from China Agricultural University in Beijing. She has been studying media law issues in China, specifically new media-related legislation and the legal boundaries of online free speech. She also has worked as a television news producer for Spanish TV Etib’s Beijing Bureau. Her research interests include Internet policy and governance, freedom of expression, online anonymity, and government information publicity. She is planning to conduct comparative media law research.

 

 

 

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