The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958 Page: 200

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

aware that Holden is writing with great understanding and
authority. A cinematic production that recognized and main-
tained these qualities could rank among the great American films.
The Press and the Law in Texas. By Norris G. Davis. Austin
(University of Texas Press), 1956. Pp. x+244. Notes, index.
There have been several useful books on libel laws and other
statutes affecting newspapers. But when a writer or editor gets
into hot water over libel or contempt of court, he is judged not
by laws in general but by those of his own state. So this book on
Texas laws affecting the press fills a real need. It should be within
quick reach of every Texas newspaper writer and editor, radio
and television commentator, and advertiser.
The author, an associate professor of journalism at the Univer-
sity of Texas, has made a thorough study of the field. He has dug
not only into the Texas libel and contempt laws but into hun-
dreds of court decisions that have given them interpretation and
practical application. Besides explaining the laws, he cites many
cases to show how the statutes have been carried out by the courts
in specific instances.
In addition to contempt of court and civil and criminal libel,
Dr. Davis takes up the invasion of privacy, trial by publicity,
access to public records and proceedings, and laws dealing with
advertising, lotteries, treason, and obscenity. He shows that while
freedom of the press is firmly guaranteed in Texas, there are many
pitfalls of which the writer and the commentator need to be wary.
One outcome of the publication of this book should be a fur-
ther clarifying of the statutes affecting radio broadcasting. The
Federal Communications Commission has ruled that the stations
may not censor political speeches, yet court decisions have held
them liable for the content of such speeches. So a station may lose
its license if it censors and may pay a heavy libel judgment if
it does not.
The author compares the Texas laws with those of other states
and calls attention to little-known Texas statutes that could trip


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958, periodical, 1958; Austin, Texas. ( accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.