Members receive free, unlimited counseling from the PNA Legal Hotline 365 days a year. The hotline handles thousands of calls annually about laws that impact journalists and the news media industry. Contact the hotline at 717-703-3080 or email PNA Media Law Counsel Melissa Bevan Melewsky at melissam@pa-news.org.

In addition, PNA attorneys will assist members by:

  • Assisting with drafting and editing Right-to-Know Law requests and administrative appeals.
  • Conducting prepublication reviews of advertising, news and editorial content.
  • Providing on-the-record commentary.
  • Offering legal research and advice on background.
  • Reaching out to, and liaising with, government agencies on members’ behalf.
  • Referring members to experienced private counsel for litigation needs.

Recent PNA Legal Hotline Questions

Each week, the PNA legal team shares a question from a member and PNA’s response. Click here for the most recent questions and answers.

Advertising Question Archive

Questions and answers related to advertising including estate notices, tobacco, CBD and medical marijuana products, fair housing and fair employment ads, political ads and much more can be found here. Read more button hyperlinks to the landing page for subject.

Business Practices Question Archive

Learn about common issues impacting business practices like Postal regulation requirements, contest guidelines, CAN-SPAM Act and more. Read more button hyperlinks to the landing page for subject.

Copyright and Trademark Question Archive

Learn about copyright and trademark law, including the use of NFL and Olympic trademarks, news content gathered from social media, takedown notices and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and more. Read more button hyperlinks to the landing page for subject.

Court Access Question Archive

Learn about First Amendment access to judicial records and proceedings, the UJS Public Access policy, seal orders and more. Read more button hyperlinks to the landing page for subject.

Defamation and Invasion of Privacy Question Archive

Learn the basics of defamation and invasion of privacy, the actual malice standard, HIPAA and the newsroom, settlements and confidentiality clauses, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the fair report privilege and more. Read more button hyperlinks to the landing page for subject.

First Amendment Question Archive

Find information about the First Amendment and newsgathering issues like the Pennsylvania Shield Law, federal reporter’s privilege, newsgathering on public property, trespass, recording interviews and the Wiretap Act and more. Read more button hyperlinks to the landing page for subject.

Law Enforcement Records Question Archive

Learn about issues related to accessing warrants, Act 22 and police body and dash cam recordings, 911 time response logs and more. Read more button hyperlinks to the landing page for subject.

Public Meetings and Sunshine Act Question Archive

Questions and answers about public comments, agendas, meeting minutes, committees, recording public meetings, penalties for violations and more. Read more button hyperlinks to the landing page for subject.

Public Records and the Right-to-Know Law Question Archive

Learn about the Right-to-Know Law, Pennsylvania’s primary public access law including the presumption of access, burden of proof, timelines, exemptions, and appeals and gain insight into other laws that mandate public access to records here. Read more button hyperlinks to the landing page for subject.

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