Tell me no lies

Tell me no lies

Is it right for people to be able to say ‘no comment’ when not wanting to answer a question?

In a court of law, should it be allowed that defendants are allowed to say ‘no comment’ to questions when trying to prove their innocence?

Standing up in court you can not make anyone give an answer, even though for their own benefit and for their best interests they should, we can not make them. Should there be a law which puts more pressure on the defendant to give evidence instead of refusing to comment or could this result in them lying and possibly misleading the court even more?

I personally think if they give no evidence and refuse to comment on what is being asked of them then they should get more of a punishment for not helping solve the investigation, yet I feel this could cause them to lie more, just so they are seen to be helping. It’s a no win situation, unfortunately you can not make anyone do something they don’t want to with out consequences.

Are they trying to hide their guilt by using ‘No comment’ or could they be saving more people being hurt?

I believe if they don’t want to lie and they obviously have something to hide then using the ‘no comment’ technique will get them out off having to. If they have nothing to hide why can they not just tell the truth? Although if in court refusing to tell a true story of what they might be being accused of could it benefit they people around them, maybe saving people knowing what really happened in the case of murder or rape? Could it in some cases actually be good if not everything was told? If this is the situation as to why someone is refusing to comment, then I agree with people being allowed, especially if it can save someone having to relive a situation they would rather forget.

Is it sensible to refuse comment to protect the reputation of a person or company?

There are many things which are hidden and refused to be talked about to protect a company or person for negative actions or accusations. Should these be hidden and people allowed to not explain them whether true or not or should all be told? Should things be kept private which doesn’t concern the public by refusing to comment to the press? Yes I think they should but only when they do not concern anyone else, all because people and companies are in the public eye does not mean they have to answer to people which their business does not concern. This however is contradicted when the public is concerned about accusations, therefore they should, out of respect, comment on questions asked to them.

Phone Hacking

A recent case of lying to protect a company is the News Of The World phone hacking. This has effected the privacy of many celebrities including, Hugh Grant, J.K Rowling, Sienna Miller and Max Mosley. With many people who work for News Of The World knowing for years this has been going on yet have refrained from coming clean and owning up to this breach of privacy who can we really trust these days? Many people have given up lying by owning up only after they have already been caught out coincidentally, Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks are two of these.

Not only has it affected the lives of celebrities but innocent families in the most cruelest of ways. Voicemails were hacked on murdered schoolgirl Millie Dowler which gave the parents hope she might have still been alive. In extreme cases live these it takes a cruel and heartless person to continue to lie about something so serious.

We can’t pick and chose when it might be right for someone to ‘no comment’ therefore I think if someone refuses comment it should be taken that they have something to hide and they are guilty, even if the only reason they are not commenting is to benefit other people. When tables are turned and in the case of the phone hacking the truth should be told. Press had already found out they were doing it yet they continued to lie and refuse to comment on the situation.

Kelly Herd

When in Rome, do as the Romans

Aside

This week we, PR United 5, have had our facilitated Discussion where we addressed the topic ”When in Rome, do as the Romans”. We approached the topic as a question of individuality, asking: When visiting a foreign society, should you be obliged to conform to its cultural and religious believes and rules. Or do you preserve the right to present your own ethical values?

What we talked about before our discussion was the ethical considerations, the problems and opportunities of the corporate world, in the light of this topic. What we learned was that most (western) corporate businesses are obliged to perform after the rules and laws of the country it is based. So, if a British based organisation is doing business in China, it still has to perform after the British regulations.

However, when a Chinese organisation comes to Britain to do businesses, they are still obliged to follow British rules and laws, even if they are based in China. Now, isn’t this a bit hypocritical? This is basically saying that Chinese that want to do business with a British organisation, always have to act after the British rules, even in their home country.

Trade has been a part of our history for as long as there have existed life on this planet, and it is the trade, which have created the 2011 civilisation. However, I would imagine that this will act as a breaking factor of the ongoing trade globalisation, or globalisation as a whole for that matter. What if every country, or at least the ones that make up the biggest trade societies, suddenly decides to introduce this rule?

What is interesting here, is that the western societies is usually following a relativistic point of view – there is no absolute right and wrong, everything has to be seen in the light of a context before it can be judged as right or wrong. While the eastern societies, then especially China, is typically defined as Absolutist societies, where an act is either right or wrong, no matter the context. In the trading world however, the tables are turned.

How come that some societies accept representatives from other societies coming in to their world, demand and force their foreign rules upon them. I guess the easy answer is the need for profit. This can also explain why it usually is the “rich” countries that follows the absolutist approach in the trading world, and why the “less fortunate” adopt the relativistic approach.

I guess profit is the one thing that makes people able to incline. In the matter of religion and culture however, the discussion a turn for the worse…

Maria W.

Religion – Saints or sinners?

The world is altering.  It used to be that if you named a country, you could match a religion to it.  But now, eyes have opened and cultural experiences have widened.  There are countries that have become so multi-cultural that the idea of even mentioning a one and only religion to coincide with one country sounds preposterous.  However, should this be the case?  Should countries be adopting other religious faiths?  The idea of taking on other religious and cultural faiths is nice… But does it mean a country is losing its national and historical identity?

I know everyone has their own and utterly different opinions, but my thoughts and feelings are that if you move to another country, you respect their cultural faiths.  I’m not saying leave your religion behind you, but once you leave your native country you have moved into a completely different culture (even if it is a country right next door).

A Jehovah Witness headmaster in a British school in Hampshire did not allow the school put up Christmas decorations.  The fact that he was a Jehovah Witness should not affect the rest of the students studying there.  There could, of course, be many reasons as to why he did this, but surely if there are a majority of Church of England students, in a culture where the celebration of Christmas is very popular, there should be some sign of that.  Obviously, he may well have done this so students of other religious faiths would not feel segregated, but I’m not so sure this is fair on the majority.

Now, there are many issues to do with faith, culture and law.  But, how about the banning of face veils?  France is not the only country to do this and is only being used as an example for this blog.  Other countries include Germany, Turkey, Belgium, Albania, Tunisia, Australia and Syria, with Italy just approving a draft.  France has 5million Muslims, with only 2,000 women believed to actually wear a face veil.  Currently a €150 (£135) fine or lessons in French citizenship can be given if the burqa or niqab is worn in public.  I am in two minds about this.  On one side, public safety is necessary when it comes to identification and knowing people are who they say they are, but on the other I feel this could be against simple human rights of practising a religion.  I have been told that this isn’t generally enforced in France, but I can’t help but think that the stigma of the law still being there exists.  Overall, I believe that public safety comes first over being politically correct and if some people get a little offended then… so be it.  It is a shame when people/groups ruin it for others, in the 21st Century can you be too careful?

My final point is the idea of respecting religions.  Should we be forced to cover up (out of respect for religion) when visiting countries?  I firmly think we should, wearing less clothing is highly different to covering up and can be quite offensive to some even in countries where this doesn’t apply for religious purposes.  However, in Australia, the most senior Muslim cleric condoned rape, saying “If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside without cover, and the cats come to eat it whose fault is it, the cats’ or the uncovered meat’s?”.  This is set in a country where there is no necessary need to cover up, people spend a lot of time in swim apparel and smaller/lighter clothing due to the heat.  Is this religion going too far?  This is an opinion coming from one person, but when this person  is that countries most highest Muslim cleric, is can comes across as the opinion of the majority.  Whomever this opinion belongs to does not matter, I don’t agree with it.  My thoughts on any religion were that they were to test and show your dedication to the faith, such as showing restraint when faced against something of temptation (the story of Eve and the apple).  But, if this cleric is condoning rape when women are not covered, then he’s saying it’s fine to give in to temptation when it’s given to you on a plate.  Where are the morals and ethics in that?

Lauren Harding

Manners/Practical/Ethical issue



Manners Etiquette consideration: did you just accidentally insult someone?

Practical consideration: what’s the fallout of your behavior?

Ethical consideration: is this universally wrong?

Why would you act differently at home (in Rome) compared to another home?

Why would you act differently in university compared to how you would act at home?

Why would you act differently on holiday destination (Napa) than if you were to act at home (your own country)?

Putting these three theories in to context will help to understand how each scenarios play out. For example with the situation involving the Muslim headscarves in France. From a government point of view we can see that practical aspect of the situation in terms of not being able to identify people wearing these scarves to cover their face. Taking in to consideration that the country is under threat of terrorism it does make sense why they would want to protect their French citizens from another attack so the disapproval of headscarves from the governments stand point is for a practical reason for the safety and insurance of the people.

Looking from a manner’s point of view well you got to ask yourself who is being offended here? Is it the government, the French citizens or the women who where the scarves? Is it a matter of offending one’s culture by not taking into consideration how the other feels about your actions?

Last point is from an ethical standpoint, whether the actions and decisions is a matter of value and principles. Taking into consideration that the headscarf is a traditional custom to Arabic countries and Muslim religion, in the eyes of the people who practice this religion taking off the scarf could be a matter of principle! Maybe the scarf means more the person than what you first thought or assumed.

Clement Boateng

When in Rome – Educational differences.

With the growing number of people and families immigrating to other countries there has been an increase in multi language education. But the big question is, should you learn in the language of the country or should you learn in your own language. This caused a big debate for a facilitated discussion this week as the majority of our class are originally from other countries such as France, Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, and Norway there were many different thoughts about this subject flying around.

Is it right that a family can immigrate to Marbella and their children learn in an English school taught by English teachers with the OPTION of learning the country’s language of Spanish? Or do you think they should be taught in a Spanish school by Spanish teacher but in English yet having to also learn Spanish?

I personally think out of respect for the country the child should be taught by Spanish teacher, this is so the child can gain the culture of the country by people who know it best, it also means the child can learn strictly what is acceptable in the country and what is not. The Spanish they are would be taught would also be a lot effective coming from someone who knows it as their first language. If there were schools in the UK which only taught in German and the students didn’t need to learn any English I would be quite offended so why should it be any different for us? Because English is a second language to most other countries maybe? This is not the point though.

My second point is should the child learn the basics of the language before going anyway? The earlier the language is taught they more likely they are to remember it and learn it quicker. This could give them some foundations before going so they can build upon it actually in the country and learning first-hand. I think it would be useful for the child to already know the basics just as it is a start, but again it is not required anywhere. This could also stop the child feeling left out when in the country especially as they start to make friends there and want to interact with them.

Lastly looking more in to whether it is offensive to the country to be living there and not knowing any language. If there was someone in England who didn’t know any English, I would be offended and feel like they do not deserve to be here., It would also make it impossible to communicate with local people if you do not know their language. It would be even more offensive to expect Spanish people to talk in English to you, purely because you might not be bothered to learn the language. With the focus being on children in education, they are at their prime age for learning and picking up a new language so they should definitely take that opportunity and learn it, even if they don’t plan to stay in that country for the rest of their lives it is still a good skill to have.

I would not feel comfortable with people not knowing English in England, especially if they come to learn. They would not be able to learn in our schools or universities without knowing English fluently. So why should this be different for us in other countries?!

Kelly Herd

I swear; I did not know

On the 10th of July 2011, the News of the World published their last edition after 168 years in the press. The closure was a result of continues and growing allegation towards their illegal practice of the paper.

Already in 2003, there was a leek from an employer that the paper paid police for information. This was rejected (covered up) by News International: this was not the company practice.

A new leek, about Prince William’s knee operation in 2005, sparks a police inquiry.

Ever since, the investigation of News of the World has been on and of, but always ending in failing to come up with crucial evidence of wrongdoings.

During the last 6 months however, it shows that this scandal could have been revealed much sooner, if it had not been for corruption between the press and the investigators and police.

In July 2011, as the tangled web of News of the Worlds / News International practice started to unfold, there was a chain reaction of resignations, not only from important people within the core of Murdoch’s empire, but also within the Metropolitan Police. Still, even after their resign, many of them could not agree to ever been presented with any evidence of wrongdoing, but that their resignation just felt ”proper” in the light of the scandal.

The big question: why all this resignations from all this highly positions, if all of them felt that they had nothing to hide? As Rebekah Brooks stated: ”I now have to concentrate on correcting the distortion and rebutting the allegation about my record”.

In modern Western societies, the open free press has been regarded as a democratic watchdog: the people of a democratic society is entitle to information about what’s going on. This is fair enough, and I agree to this – everything that could have an impact on peoples lives and society, should be recognised be the people involved, the stakeholders. So yes, I would agree that in these cases, the end would justify the means.

In News of the Worlds case however, there is a matter of breaking the rules, trespassing and invading persons privacy, to get information with a ”tabloid value”.  How can the act of spying on celebrities through their private voice-mail accounts be justified as to be the greatest for the common democratic good?

Through modern history, we have seen a series of cases in public affairs where there has been serious attempts to cover up the lie:

I did not have sexual relations with that woman!

I am not a crook

I believe that Nicotine is not addicted

So, is it the lie, or the cover up?

I personally wont separate these two actions; to me they are both acts of hiding the truth. The only difference is the driver behind it: the cover up is a human reaction of self-defence, while the lie is a (necessary) result of human urges, either political competition, market competition or sexual oriented.

What ever they choose, both the lie and the cover up obviously going to make it in to the history books either way.

 

Maria W.

Tell me no lies

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For this blog i am going to keep it very simple in terms of the issue…the topic is about something that almost everybody does or has done at one point in their life. This is not a blog condemning does who choose to do this act or agree with it…yes the controversial that i am going to discuss about today is TELLING LIES!

Most times when people who agree that lying is OK they have a situation which justifies the act such as when it comes to protecting others or people you care for from harm or to not hurt the people you love with the truth. However no matter what reason there maybe towards ‘lying’ there will always be two major factors that will penultimately play in your decision process whether to lie or not, is it a practicality issue or a  value issue. When we say Practicality issues, we are not just talking about what is the most logical and sensible decision but what is in the best interest for the party you are trying to protect. Lets take for example a current issue such as the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan. there are many speculations as to the japanese government lying about the meltdown and the hazard the citizens are exposed to. The Japanese government have alerted reporters and journalist that everything is OK and the people of japan are at no danger. Many people suspect that these are lies and the government are covering up the real truth to protect themselves. The reason for this from the governments point of view is to prevent mass hysteria and panic over the situation. This would not be helpful to the government in controlling and managing the problem if their citizens are in a state of panic. Seeing it from this point of view it would be a practical desicion to lie because it is for the best interest of the country to remain calm in this current situation.

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The other flip side to the issue is the VALUES ISSUE which is based on your moral code and Principles. There are others in the world who would argue that the ACT OF LYING is wrong regardless of the situation. These views are from absolute people who have very strong morals and principles whereas lighter views who agree that lying is wrong however depending on the situation it can be understood why they would rather lie than tell the truth, making lying OK. In relation to the Fukushima accident it is understandable why the government would lie to the people to maintain order, however is it right to withhold information from the people if the situation involves your health being at risk or at worst long term damage? This is were the Value issue comes to play is it OK to lie to maintain calm even though you know peoples health and life are at risk? If you were in the position of the people and families in the country wouldn’t your want the right to know the truth if it involves people that you care and love being hurt? Same can be said for lying to protect another feelings..is it ok or does the person you are trying to protect deserve the right to know the truth i shall leave that up to you to decide?

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What ever you choose to do there shall always be consequences, if you choose to lie and you get caught lying what do you do? Do you admit it or do you try to cover up the lies…that’s when you got to start asking yourself is what you are doing still in their best interest or are you just being selfish. whereas if you decide to go for the straight up honest approach then you have to accept responsibility for the consequences and repercussions either way! However you choose its up to you i guess it just comes down to what makes the situation go down or rest easy with you…telling a lie or telling the truth?

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Clement. Boateng

Facebook Risk Assessment

Nowadays, as Facebook has been widely used anywhere all over the world, basically 95% of people around me have already had an account. I have 679 friends on Facebook, only a very few of them, what we called “net friends”, were added years ago whom I have not seen face-to-face with so far but still speak to them sometimes. I have always had all my things on Facebook private, only people I am friends with can see them. People who are not friends with me cannot see anything on my page.

However, recently, there has been a change on Facebook. Before, as I have set my albums, statuses, check-in places etc to only friends of me can see, when I tagged a friend in a photo or checked them in a place with me, their friends cannot see any of them. But, it has changed now. Friends of the people whom I tagged can see them. That makes me feel like being publicised my personal things to the people that I do not know, and more importantly, they can even make comments on them! I am quite annoyed when I see notifications of people that I do not know commented on my things. I have tried desperately to go to Privacy Setting to change it back but there is not such an option. The reason why I extremely reject this change is because I do not want to let people that I do not know see my photos, know where I am and what I am doing. It is a little bit because of getting paranoid of my photos being misused although there is completely nothing wrong with them but most importantly it is all about feeling like my privacy is being invaded.

Last year, there was a news about Facebook hacking. A hacker hacked into other people’s account through their e-mail address which they had put on their information page. Victims have involved more than 300 people. After acknowledging the news, I went up to my page and hid my e-mail address right away. I have then tried to search myself on Facebook by my e-mail address but there was no result, which means people cannot search me anymore by e-mail. The most important thing is that I cannot change my name anymore! My name was very informal, LittleSteph Steph, which was set years ago when I first opened my account. I have already used the 5 times limits in changing names, however none of them were formal. I am regret, angry and annoyed really. I have tried to e-mail the administrators to let me change my name back to formal but they did not reply. So, if my future employers wish to add me on Facebook, I will be so embarrassed because they cannot search me by e-mail address and do not even want to think about how they feel when they see my name, Oh.My.Gosh!

In addition, I update my status quite often, most of which are about random things in my day such as what I have eaten, how I am feeling, what my perception is on a specific thing and sometimes family and relationship stuff. They are not rude, inappropriate or what but I just do not think that is good to let my manager or employer see that. So, I will be using LinkedIn more in my future career.

Stephanie L

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A Facebook Risk Assessment

Facebook a social networking sites is a great way to stay in contact with friends and family by sharing personal information and events. You do this by adding friends and writing statuses for your friends to comment on. Whenever sharing information over the internet on such an unsecure site will always raise issues as to how safe it is, even if you are only connecting with people you 100% know.

The privacy setting allow the user to share information about themselves and about what they get up to, to either Friends Only, Public, or Custom. This gives the user opportunity to decide how much of their profile they want viewable to the public (any other person with an active Facebook account).

I have always had my Facebook account private so only people I am friends with can see it, and I try not to accept friend requests from people I have never met or do not know through mutual friends. Recently I noticed that after the privacy setting on Facebook had changed that my wall (Status updates, check-ins, and comments from friends, photos and videos) had become public for anyone to see. I was never made aware that with the changes, which are meant to make the privacy of Facebook better and more easy to control, would mean that my privacy settings had changed. For personal reasons I cannot have a public profile, not that I post anything inappropriate anyway, but it is for my own safety that everything is kept private.

I currently have 855 friends on Facebook, 193 of these friends I haven’t seen face to face in over 5 years, but may have spoken to them in the past 5 years, and 28 of my friends I have never met. I try not to accept people I don’t know for the fact that I don’t want random people who could be anyone knowing personal information about me, I also try and regularly clear out my friends list to make sure that if I do accept anyone I don’t know they are not on there for long.

To join up to Facebook you have to state your age over 16, but it doesn’t ask for proof therefore anyone can sign up and lie about their age. This gets worrying as girls and boys as young as 12 have been known to have Facebook accounts and being so young they do not understand the dangers especially if they have a public profile and accept friend requests from people they do not know.

If a future employer were to see my profile there is nothing on there that I should feel embarrassed about. There are a few pictures which they might not agree with (mainly drinking) but there is nothing that would offend anyone or perceive me to be a bad person. I have my mum and other close family members on there, therefore this already has an effect to what I allow to be published on my account. As I come to the end of my university course and set out to look for a job it will be time to change a lot of things on my Facebook to make it more professional, it will also be time to start making my LinkedIn account my main priority.

 Kelly H.

Does torture work?

Now this is a topic depending on how you feel towards it can go two ways…one being that torture as a whole should be outlawed because of the potential extremes of its nature or two your perception on torture will change and in doing so your opinion on whether it works or not will too. 

 

This blog will go into explore whether torture is right or wrong depending on the variables but the most important question is does torture work in essence for what it was designed for, so Just for a moment i will need you to imagine a world where there was no moral, lawful or constitutional issues with torture (i know hard right).

Background of torture

Torture is the act of inflicting serve pain whether physical or mental as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing or confession or could be quite frankly put as an act of cruelty for the sadistic gratification of the torturer! 

 

Examples of torture

There are many forms of torture ranging from subtle to extreme gruesome and bloody means but torture is not a new concept that has just been brought to light since 9/11 and Guantanamo Bay detention camp…it dates back to medieval times. In does dark time torture was seen as the norm for punishment of crime so as to the criminal a lesson not to commit crime again! A lot of famous kings, queens were known for their quite gruesome torture methods but more evidently the reason why they did these deeds. Even a small crime would be punished by torture because back then it was deemed to be the most effective way to deliver a message and maintain order in their kingdoms, so showing example to the rest of the society it would serve as a warning and scare people not to fall out of line.

It was used by religions to convert what they believed to be pagans or devil worshippers to the right path or confess their unholy ways.

 

Till this day a lot of communist country still believe and keep these belief that torture for the good of the many is acceptable and to protect their kingdom at any cost. A lot of other countries however with the introduction of human rights do not always agree with these methods and believe that torturing is wrong and inhuman. 

Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi believed that through torture was the only way of truly protecting and maintaining order in their country. Even though it could be argued that they exploited their powers to maintain the rule over their country it also raises the question of its effectiveness…they did remain in power uncontested for a long period of time. Maybe because of their fear they installed through torture and the examples of what would happen if you opposed them…whether wrong or right the main question to be answered is was it effective?

 

Both leaders were eventually toppled and removed from power with the aid of America however this raises another question…if America war on terror never reached foreign soil do you think the countries own people would have still been successful in removing the dictators from their thrones or would they still be reigning today…Interesting?

Americans and torture

 

With the war on terrorism being on high alert America decided maybe it was time to get tough on terrorist, not just in terms of airport security and protecting their country but on the terrorist and their punishment towards terrorists.

There were many reasons for this:

  1. Timely information needed to prevent another 9/11 or capture wanted terrorist
  2. The specific terrorists that are captured with the act of terrorism lose their human rights and so punishment is acceptable
  3. Americans may also argue that no amount of torture done will ever amount to what terrorist have brought upon the world
  4. Torturing to abstract information from terrorist is allowed and may lead to new information that could help end the war on terror

Then again there are people who have seen the pictures of these prisons and the corruption that goes on in these camps, so therefore argue that:

  1. Lowers them down to the same level as terrorists on a moral level
  2. May lead to weakening of international law meaning a tit for tat torturing of prisoners.
  3. It could prove to does that have anti-America that they were right to think that way about the country.
  4. People will eventually become sympathetic to the terrorist and see them as human beings being tortured
  5. Other non torture methods which are just as effective
  6. Torture can lead to false information…to say anything to end their suffering.
  7. Terrorist could potentially choose death over getting capture or tortured which could lead to more deaths and incidents to avoid capture.
  8. The chance of torturing an innocent person is always there!

 

The imagery found about what was going on in these camps greatly shed light on the issue of torture and showed that it didn’t really matter who carried it out…there was always a potential that torture could be taken too far even in America (which was a little embarrassing for them).

However since the 9/11 and a lot harsher rules have been implemented there has never been another 9/11 attacks to date on American soil. This could be due Americas new zero tolerance measures and the information and intelligence that they have gathered through these camps which they have used to prevent any future attacks on home soil.

Is it the act, the action, the actor the definitive factor?

We can argue to the reasons as to why we shouldn’t or should torture, whether you can justify it or not, however you got to ask your self what is really the issue that here that people don’t agree with. Is it the person who carried out the torture such as Saddam Hussein who was seen as a villain to the wide world so the act of torture world is deemed evil if done by someone corrupts in power?

Is it the action of torture and how you go about conducting the deed because there are many ways to torture but there are some really gruesome and extreme ways that people really are sensitive to and don’t agree to. That’s when it starts becoming more sadistic and for peoples pleasure.

 

Or is it just the act itself that you may not agree with at all. Torture in itself as the act of inflicting pain to others…if you are humanitarian then this will never settle with you! Causing harm to others is never acceptable regardless of the reason for it!

Or is it just the act itself that you may not agree with at all. Torture in itself as the act of inflicting pain to others…if you are humanitarian then this will never settle with you! Causing harm to others is never acceptable regardless of the reason for it!

 

 At the end of the day we must remember no matter how you feel about torture you got to remember what the question is…it wasn’t whether torture is right or wrong but more of whether torture works? That question if you check through history and do your research you may find your answer and so be prepared…you may not like what you find.

 

Clement. Boateng