Annotating the News: Mitigating the Effects of Media Convergence and Consolidation

26 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2009

See all articles by Eric Easton

Eric Easton

University of Baltimore - School of Law

Date Written: Fall 2000

Abstract

This essay is a personal inquiry into the nature of media technology, law, and ethics in an era marked by the convergence of media that have been largely separate-print, broadcast, cable, satellite, and the Internet-and by the consolidation of ownership in all of these media. What inventions, practices, and norms must emerge to enable us to take advantage of this vast new information-based world, while preserving such important professional values as diversity, objectivity, reliability, and independence?

The right to know belongs not only to individuals, but to the public at large, it can (or, perhaps, must) be vindicated by government intervention when private interests threaten to stifle the free flow of information. And that, or so the theory goes, is precisely what is happening today. Through mergers and acquisitions, private media companies have so consolidated their hold on the mainstream media that they have effectively frozen out dissenting or unorthodox voices and compromised editorial integrity in the quest for the almighty dollar. We do not need to be told that convergence and consolidation jeopardizes our most deeply held values. If the right to know is enforceable without reference to any speaker, then it can provide a powerful tool for protecting the public interest in the free flow of information by preventing the government from granting intellectual property rights that would have the opposite effect.

Keywords: media, technology, law, ethics, broadcast, cable, satellite, Internet, right to know, private interests, government intervention, free flow of information

JEL Classification: L82, K19, K29, K39, O31, O33, O34, O38

Suggested Citation

Easton, Eric, Annotating the News: Mitigating the Effects of Media Convergence and Consolidation (Fall 2000). University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law Review, Vol. 23, No. 1, 2000. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1368923

Eric Easton (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

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