FCC Chairman Kevin Martin to Help Inaugurate Center for Media Law and Policy

Date(s) - 03/05/2007
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

UNC School of Government

Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin J. Martin will speak at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at noon Monday (March 5) in the first event of the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy.

A collaborative initiative of the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the UNC School of Law, the new center aims to support both schools’ efforts to train students in the complex relationship between mass communication, the law and public policy. The center will also provide a national forum for debate on media law and policy.

Martin’s talk will be in lecture hall 2603 in the Knapp-Sanders Building, home to the UNC School of Government.

“Now is the perfect time for the Center for Media Law and Policy at Carolina,” said Jean Folkerts, dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “The university’s scholars and researchers are established leaders in the field, and the intersection of legal and media issues, and the primacy of the First Amendment in preserving a democratic society that protects individual and societal rights, are increasingly vital issues of national debate.”

The center is envisioned as a resource for media and legal professionals and scholars and a source for innovative solutions to the problems raised as traditional legal standards and are challenged by technological changes in the dissemination of news, information and entertainment.

“The explosion of communications technologies – cable and clear channel networks, the internet, personal blogs, MP-3 and I-Pod devices – raises scores of complex legal questions with few clear answers,” said Jack Boger, dean of the law school.

Newspapers, magazines, radio, television and the music industry all find their traditional products broadcast instantaneously into hundreds of countries with a bewildering tangle of media laws, none of which were drafted with the current realities in mind, said Boger, adding: “The capacity of computers and servers to track individual access to media raises the specter of governmental and corporate intrusion into individuals’ lives and privacy that would have seemed futuristic even 25 years ago.”

Issues the center will address include intellectual property, media consolidation, national security, indecency, privacy, advertising and reporter’s privilege.

Martin was designated FCC chairman by President George W. Bush in March 2005. He was re-nominated for a second term by Bush in April 2006. Martin served previously as a special assistant to the president for economic policy and was on the staff of the National Economic Council. Before joining the Bush administration, Martin served as a technology and telecommunications advisor on the Bush-Cheney transition team.

Martin holds a bachelor’s degree in political science with honors and distinction from UNC, a master’s in public policy from Duke University and a J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School.

Parking is limited near the Knapp-Sanders Building and the law school. Some parking will be available in metered spaces along Raleigh Road, with additional visitor parking available in Highway 54 Lot on Raleigh Road near the intersection of Raleigh and Country Club roads.

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