January 30, 2020

Fake news, mass shootings, politics top agenda at ABA communications law meeting in Austin

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2020 — Leading communications law experts from across the nation will gather to discuss hot topics in Federal Communications Commission and regulatory matters at the 25th Annual Forum on Communications Law Conference, Feb. 6-8 in Austin, Texas.  Topics of discussion will include advertising and promotions, legislation, entertainment, ethics, libel and privacy, cross-border vetting, reporter’s privilege and social media.

What:    
25th Annual Forum on Communications Law Conference
sponsored by the ABA Forum on Communications Law

When: 
Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 6-8

Where:   
Hilton Austin
500 E 4th Street
Austin, Texas 78701

Program highlights include: 

“Twenty-Five Years Later: McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission,” – In 1995, the Supreme Court upheld the First Amendment rights of activist Margaret McIntyre, charged with a crime, to distribute anonymous political leaflets at a public meeting. Since then, a lot of important journalism – and a lot of really hateful speech – has rested on the same rights of anonymity that McIntyre won. This panel will discuss whether in today’s political environment, the court would decide her case the same way – and should it? Panelists include  James Dao, Op-ed editor, The New York Times;  David A. Goldberger, professor emeritus of Law Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University; Beth Littrell, senior staff attorney special litigation, Southern Poverty Law Center, Montgomery, Ala.; Alissa Starzak, head of Public Policy Cloudflare, Inc., Washington, D.C.;  Stephen Vladeck, professor of law, University of Texas Austin.

Friday, 9:15-10:45 a.m., (Salon H)

“Preparing for the Future, Celebrating the Past,”— This panel will discuss best practices in communications law and discuss future challenges in the industry. Moderating the panel is Lynn Carrillo, vice president of legal, NBCUniversal News Group, Miami. Panelists include Lauren Fisher, chief legal officer, Vox Media, Washington, D.C.;  Andy Mar, director & associate general counsel, Facebook, Menlo Park, Calif.; James A. McLaughlin, deputy general counsel & director of Government Affairs, The Washington Post; Carolyn Forrest, vice president of Legal Affairs,  Fox Television Stations, LLC, Atlanta; Randy Shapiro, Global Media counsel, Bloomberg, LP, New York;  Savalle Sims, general counsel, Discovery, Inc. New York.

Friday, 12:30-2 p.m., (Salon H)

“Women in Communications Law” — The authors of “There’s No Crying in Newsrooms: What Women Have Learned about What It Takes to Lead,” Kristin Grady Gilger and Julia Wallace will share leadership stories of women who pushed through barriers at media organizations.

Friday, 5:30-7:30 p.m., (Salon K)

 “In Harm’s Aftermath: Covering the News in Violent Times” —This panel will examine the media’s role in covering tragedy and accessing public documents. Recent mass shootings in Texas and Florida will be discussed and the issue of the public’s right to know amid the states’ interest in prosecuting the offender and protecting the privacy of victims and their families. This panel will feature  Steve Perkins, husband of Glenda Ann Perkins, a substitute teacher at Santa Fe High School who was killed in the May 18, 2018 mass shooting at the Texas school.  Panelists include Joe Moody, Texas State Representative; Shelby Webb, reporter, Houston Chronicle; Deanna Shullman of Florida law firm Shullman Fugate PLLC; and Andre Davis, retired Fourth Circuit judge, Baltimore City solicitor.

Saturday, 9:45-11:15 a.m., (Salon H)

“Breaking News! Fake News and Deep Fakes and Their Impact on American Democracy”— Panelists will tackle such questions as what technological developments are enabling a proliferation of fake news and deep fakes? Left unchecked, how will current technology impact the media? Do these developments have the potential to disrupt our democracy? And, are current legislative proposals attempting to address these developments a possible solution? Panelists include Michael Gottlieb, partner, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, Washington, D.C.; Donie O’Sullivan, reporter, CNN New York; Ben Sheffner, senior vice president & associate general counsel, Copyright & Legal Affairs, Motion Picture Association of America, Inc., Los Angeles; Charlyn Stanberry, chief of staff for Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY); Drew Shenkman, assistant general counsel, CNN Atlanta.

Saturday, 1-2 p.m., (Salon FG)

A complete agenda can be found online.  

There is no charge for media covering this event —please contact Betsy Adeboyejo at 202-662-1039 or Betsy.Adeboyejo@americanbar.org.

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