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  • Description

    Offering immunity from civil liability to the heads of online social media companies, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) empowers these leaders to delete, modify or censor material they may deem objectionable. The act also gives them the freedom to ban or de-platform individuals at their discretion, thereby making them the gatekeepers of the discourse on platforms that provide most of the world’s information.

    This CLE course will address the constitutionality of granting such power so exclusively and whether that delegation of power is possible under the 1st Amendment. The course will review the limits of the 1st Amendment as it applies to traditional media and what speech is protected and what is justifiably suppressed.

    The course will then turn to the Internet and Section 230 and address the issues which arise when it is applied by heads of social media platforms. The course will then answer whether this Section of an Act enacted in 1996, before the extreme growth of social media, is an effective law to govern discourse amongst billions of users. Could Congress even envision the applications of the law in the pre-Facebook era?

    All of this and more will be covered in this timely and riveting CLE course.

  • Instructor Bio

    Stephen Kimatian

    Stephen Kimatian has practiced media law for over 40 years. He has been general counsel to television broadcast groups Newport Television, Kansas City, Clear Channel Television, San Antonio, general manager for television stations WJZ-TV, Baltimore, WKBK, Buffalo, and WSYR-TV Syracuse, and northeast regional vice president for the Ackerley Group, Seattle. He also served as President of Maryland Public Television.

    Mr. Kimatian started his legal career with the New York City labor law firm, O’Donnell & Schwartz, Esqs. before joining Group W Broadcasting as Director of Employee and Labor Relations. For several years he served as Instructor of Media and First Amendment law for Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and has also been a columnist for the Syracuse Post Standard. With his daughter, an attorney specializing in education law, and a local community group, he established OnTECH Charter High School in Syracuse, New York.

    Mr. Kimatian is a recipient of the Silver Circle Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, past Board Chairman of the Community College of Baltimore, a participant in the DOD, Joint Civilian Orientation Conference and recipient of the President’s Award from Upstate Medical University. Steve grew up in Queens, New York, attended Brooklyn Technical High School, Princeton University and Cornell Law School.