Introduction to Symposium: Media, Law and Ethics Enter the 21st Century

6 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2013

See all articles by Richard J. Peltz-Steele

Richard J. Peltz-Steele

University of Massachusetts School of Law at Dartmouth

Date Written: September 21, 2000


Today we find ourselves in a world where the once fantastic has become commonplace. We can search worldwide catalogs of libraries, listen to radio from foreign countries, and tour the wonders of the world, all from our home computers. We talk on wireless telephones and in virtual “rooms” to people the world over about everything from aardvark poetry to ZZ Top. We watch the movies we want when we want them without having to go to a theater to pay too much for popcorn -- even though sometimes we go because the screen is bigger and the butter tastes better. We expect -- not hope, not merely desire, but expect -- to watch Olympic events in Australia as they happen, or when we wake up in the morning, whichever we choose. Our science fiction today shows us a future in cyberspace where we can not only read and “chat,” but live and die. In the year 2000 we have completed a transition that after World War II had only just begun: Instead of technology surprising us with possibilities we had not imagined, we now expect technology to make our dreams come true. Yet at this millennial threshold, we find ourselves asking the same question that was so pertinent to the Hutchins Commission more than fifty years ago. It bears repeating: With the immeasurable power of burgeoning technologies increasingly concentrated in profit oriented big businesses, will media rise to their responsibility to a world of nations seeking understanding? Or will irresponsibility deprive media of their freedom?

Keywords: media law, media ethics, journalism, Hutchins Commission, freedom of the press, media technology

JEL Classification: K13, K19, K20, K30, L39, L82, L86, M14, N40, N42, O33, O38

Suggested Citation

Peltz-Steele, Richard J., Introduction to Symposium: Media, Law and Ethics Enter the 21st Century (September 21, 2000). University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law Review, Vol. 23, No. 1, 2000, Available at SSRN:

Richard J. Peltz-Steele (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts School of Law at Dartmouth ( email )

333 Faunce Corner Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747-1252
United States
15089851102 (Phone)

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