phoenixnz (phoenixnz) wrote,

Freedom of Speech

There is something that is bothering me. A row has blown up over a certain public figure posting something on social media which has to do with religious views. I do not agree with these views at all.

This person has lost their job over it. I won't go into any more detail as there is apparently a court case pending.

What bothers me is this: a person has a right to their own views, but when they post to social media, they have a duty of care and need to be fully aware that those private views are now on a public forum. If they are considered a role model, especially to young teens, and such remarks are potentially harmful, especially if one person who looked up to that other person takes those remarks as 'gospel', and harms themselves because of it, then the role model needs to bear some of the responsibility.

Should this mean loss of a job? I don't want to comment on the legalities of an employment contract. However, a few years ago there was a case of a woman who baked a cake and then iced it, writing what could only be an inflammatory comment on the cake. She posted this cake to social media. Her ex-employer (she had left) had found out about the post through a friend and contacted recruitment agencies. She took it to employment court and won.

Should the ex-employer have done this? No. Should she have posted this? Definitely not. 

When you use social media, you need to be aware that what you post can be seen by someone you never meant to see it. 

Yes, I post rants occasionally, but I choose my words carefully and try not to use inflammatory language that could be considered offensive or hurtful to someone. I believe in respect. 

I do believe in freedom of speech, but I also think we need to draw a line where, if it is something that is potentially hurtful, offensive, or could lead someone to harm themselves, then we should not express it publicly. I realise there is probably already an unwritten rule about this, but people need to think about what they post on social media. 

And that is all I have to say about that. 
Tags: freedom of speech, social media
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