I have spent the majority of this week thinking about conflicting interests; I feel exhausted yet motivated. In juggling several different types of work, I have never wanted Dairylea Dunkers and life-perspective more than recently. I changed my phone background to a half-naked actor in order to motivate myself (not sure how this works) and video-messaged my best friend who is unfortunately still in Sweden. With her not here to censor me, I embarrassed myself frequently at the history society’s quiz. I was about as smooth as crunchy peanut butter. This week to explain my sudden interest in changing the law, I wanted to discuss ideas surrounding Corporate Censorship and injustice. To what extent can you express your opinion?
The press is subject to three main laws concerning publishing; Defamation, which comes in the forms of Libel and Slander. In order to understand Corporate Censorship, it is important to revise the definitions of these.
the action of damaging the good reputation of someone; slander or libel
- libel- noun
a published false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation; a written defamation.
- slander- noun
the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation.
Upon reflecting on the first definition, I decided to find out the correct legal definition for defamation, as this specifies that the offending information for this definition is false:
any intentional false communication, either written or spoken, that harms a person’s reputation; decreases the respect, regard, or confidence in which a person is held; or induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person.
Alongside protecting the general public from the release of false stories, these laws keep writers and publishers informed. Corporate Censorship becomes a problem when employees are subject to contractual clauses concerning what they are allowed to write or publish, as an employee of the company. Maintaining an identity as an individual can conflict with this, based on the extent the contract suggests, which can often be vague and subject to several interpretations. Thus, it is of ultimate importance to thoroughly read any contract you sign with an employer, as this may result in dismissal or the need to resign in order to maintain free will.
Should corporations be allowed to include censorship as a part of a contract? Even if not explicitly included, should they be able to dismiss or punish employees who take part in free speech? If laws enforce truth and punish lies, what are companies afraid of? Of course, corporations can do as they please inside of the law, and as an employee you are subject to a contract. To what extent does big business control the media? Should Corporate Censorship be illegal? If so, where are the lines drawn, and who decides this? Contracts suggest that in order to publicize an opinion on several issues, you must hide your employment.
It is important to separate public complaints against your own company from opinions on external situations outside of the company’s remit. Under Hitler’s regime in Nazi Germany, employees could not speak against the regime for fear of losing their jobs. In the context of depression, jobs are the greatest concern. Although it may be common sense not to speak against the company, with contracts that decide which political activities or press releases you can or cannot comment on under your job role: where is the line?
In the world of social media, I found myself tweeting #ConfessYourUnpopularOpinion, but wondering just how influenced public opinions are by popularity contests. When reading an article on the lessons learnt from Legally Blonde, I realized that however unrealistic the film is, you can always speak up for yourself. However big and scary your opposition is, we live in a country which does take note of human rights, even if they need additional reform. On Sunday evening I went to a new bar launch with an exclusive ticket for discounts on the drinks. Due to the consumption of a few martinis, it may take me a while to change the law. It is important to let your hair down in times of stress. In the meantime, I hope this column inspires you to stand your ground and believe in yourself. Never be afraid of change, it will open the door to better opportunities.