Legal Hotline

LEGAL HOTLINE: (717) 703-3080

One of the PNA’s most popular services to our members is the free Legal PNA Legal HotlineHotline. PNA members may call the hotline with any legal questions.

PNA attorneys routinely provide members with advice on HIPAA, open records, the state Sunshine Act, use of independent contractors, libel, telemarketing, copyrights, the Pennsylvania Shield Law and legal advertising. Many reporters from PNA member newspapers rely on PNA’s attorneys for quotes on stories involving legal issues.

Members may also contact PNA’s Media Law Counsel directly via email.

Legal Hotline: Pennsylvania Shield Law 2019

Q: What is the law that protects confidential sources, and what does it mean for journalists in our newsroom? A: Pennsylvania’s Shield Law offers robust protection against compelled disclosure of confidential source…

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Legal Hotline: Last Minute Political Ads

Q: Isn’t there a rule in Pennsylvania or federal law that restricts last-minute political ads? A: There is no federal law or regulation that prohibits last minute political ads in newspapers, and…

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Legal Hotline: Military Symbols in Ads

Q: A funeral home wants to use an image of the Purple Heart in an ad focusing on veterans. Is that allowed? A: No, not unless the funeral home has obtained prior…

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Legal Hotline: Political Ad Basics 2019

Q: We’re getting several local political ads leading up to election day. What are some of the issues we need to consider about political advertising? A: Financing, required disclosures, timing, rates and…

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Legal Hotline: Casino Ads

Q: Can our newspaper accept ads for Pennsylvania casinos and if so, are there any advertising requirements we should be aware of? A: Yes, newspapers can accept ads for casinos and there…

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Legal Hotline: Sunshine Act & Committees

Q: A borough council facing budget shortfalls created a committee to offer advice and investigate potential funding streams. Our reporter asked when the first committee meeting will take place, but the borough…

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Legal Hotline: Bar/Restaurant Alcohol Advertising

Q: A few restaurant and bar advertisers want to advertise prices and extended happy hours. Can they do that? A: Yes, alcohol prices can appear in newspaper ads, and the Liquor Code…

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Legal Hotline: Proof of Publication 2019

Q: What does Pennsylvania law require a “Proof of Publication” to include? And, are we allowed to charge administrative fees in addition to the notary fee? A: The Newspaper Advertising Act sets…

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Legal Hotline: Clery Act 2019

Q: There are several colleges and universities in our circulation area, and I’m working on a story about crimes that occur on campus. I requested access to information about crimes from campus…

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Legal Hotline: Emergency Time Response Logs

Q: I requested access to emergency time response logs from the local emergency dispatch agency. The records provided had all response addresses redacted, and as a result, I have no way to…

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