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On Speaking Out in CyberSpace

News & Politics

by Ivette Lopez, world-class student, broadcast journalist, and playdate wrangler

The Applied Ethics Institute for St. Petersburg College hosted a presentation on Ethical Implications of Free Speech in the World of Social Media on Wednesday, October 3rd at the Clearwater campus. The two speakers were very knowledgeable in their department of expertise.

One speaker, Catherine J Cameron, a professor of law at Stetson University, discussed more of the constitutional laws of what is legal in media. A point she made was that even though something is legal, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ethical. Professor Cameron implied this statement with a “circle graph”. The biggest circle showed all behaviors, and then the second circle within the big circle showed unethical behavior. Then lastly, the smallest circle in the middle represented illegal behavior. Catherine also pointed out facts about anti-bullying, privacy, and copyright laws. All of these laws were explained based on real-life trials that happen in the last 10 years in the United States.

The second speaker was a Senior Faculty for the Poynter Institute. Kelly McBride specializes in media ethics due to her 10 years in journalism and now is involved in the Poynter institute. Kelly had a lot of things to say about the world of Facebook and the boundary lines that journalist have to navigate between what is ethical and legal. A great point she explained was the true meaning of the violation of privacy. McBride describe violation of ethical privacy as having an issue set in one way by the originator and placing it in another setting through context by someone else. This issue is something that is immoral but sadly legal in most cases.

Both speakers had great insight in the topics discussed. The turnout of SPC students was also a great attribute. Even though “laws haven’t kept up with technology” as both Cameron and McBride claimed, it is great to have a presentation as this one giving our generation information.

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