University of Kansas Continuing Education 21st Annual Media and the Law Seminar

This program has been approved in accordance with the requirements of the Continuing Legal Education Board. CLE Credit will be granted to attorneys.

Click here for the official seminar website. (Kansas City, MO)

Fourth Estate or Fifth Wheel?
Government Curbs on Free Speech

In On Heroes and Hero Worship, Thomas Carlyle wrote in 1841: "Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all. It is not a figure of speech, or a witty saying; it is a literal fact,— every momentous to us in these times. Literature is our Parliament too. Printing, which comes necessarily out of Writing, I say often, is equivalent to Democracy: invent Writing, Democracy inevitable." This august notion of media as "Fourth Estate" is a foundational tenet of the Bill of Rights borne out by the likes of New York Times v. Sullivan and its progeny. But has the media fallen (or cast itself) from grace? Media critics increasingly eschew Carlyle’s lofty characterization of the media, viewing the media instead as plagued by bias, spin, slant, and unfairness driven largely by private interests and commercial motives rather than the overall public good. Has the media morphed from Fourth Estate to fifth wheel, justifiably subject to restraint and censure because of a failure to police itself against private interests? This year’s seminar, on Friday, April 18, 2008, will focus on this core issue.

Schedule Includes:
- Judicial Canons as Vehicles to Curtail Speech
- Celebrities and the Right of Publicity
- Executive Branch Constraints on Free Speech
- When Judges Sue the Media
- Is a Reporter’s Privilege Really Necessary?

Barry Langberg, Partner
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP

Topic: Right of Publicity: How Celebrities and Nobodies Try to Restrict (or Cash in on) Speech