Between 1964 and 1989, the US Supreme Court largely rewrote the constitutional law of the media. In doing so the Court protected virtually all materials from laws that penalized dissemination. But simultaneously the Court also approved some government policies that made access to information more difficult, causing Justice Potter Stewart to observe that the "Constitution is neither a Freedom of Information Act nor an Official Secrets Act."
The media that existed during the twenty-five years of explosive legal change was relatively stable. Most Americans who wished to learn about news and public affairs received quite similar information. Over the last twenty-five years, and especially the last decade, cable, social media, and the internet combined to transform the media. The law that developed to deal with the old media is the law that now applies to the new media. Yet the underlying assumptions of that law, especially that citizens rationally consider various sides of a debate, may no longer hold.
Media Law: A Very Short Introduction provides a description of the development and status of the law relating to all media -- newspapers, magazines, books, broadcasting, the Internet -- in the United States and the United Kingdom. It deals with criticism of government, taxation, defamation, privacy, libel, access to people, data, and places, obscenity, blasphemy, and the various issues created by the Internet.
2 The historical Issues - criticism of government, prior restraints, and taxation - in the Twentieth Century
3 A brief discussion of theories of the First Amendment
4 Control of government information
5 Libel and privacy
6 Obscenity, indecency, etc.
7 The old and the new media