Is the right of free speech available to corporations?
The Constitutional Rights of America includes the right of freedom of expression. It refers the individual citizens’ right to freely voice their opinions, ideas, or views without fear of prosecution by the government.
This law was established in accordance to the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The law prevents the government creating laws that would restrict freedom of speech.
The freedom of speech is granted to individual citizens, but not corporations (Coates (2015)).
The Constitution, as well as recent amendments, provides freedom rights for US citizens only. However, this is not extended to US corporations or business organizations.
This essay will argue that corporations are nothing but collections of people. Therefore, they should be given the same rights as individual US citizens.
A movie entitled Hillary: The Movie was made during the 2008 presidential campaign in the USA. It had the purpose of portraying Hillary Clinton in a negative light.
The movie was part of an election campaign and presented facts and opinions that undoubtedly attempted to denigrate Hillary Clinton’s reputation. This dissuaded a majority of voters who voted for her.
While this was not deemed ethical by Congress, it is undisputed that the political parties collectively have the right and freedom to express their opinions and inform voters to help them make an informed decision about who they will vote for.
Publications that contain negative opinions about political figures are allowed to be published. Accordingly, the movie releases as part the political agenda cannot been objected to (Liptak (2014)).
Additionally, media houses like newspaper publishing companies are exempted form any kind of ban while they spend money to encourage and convince their readers to vote for a certain political party.
Clements, 2015, reminds us that critics believe that giant corporations will spend a lot of money to benefit or harm politicians without any constraints.
It is important to remember that retail giants like Apple or Microsoft will not engage in divisive campaigning for fear of alienating consumers.
The 2002 Bipartisan campaign Reform Act prohibited corporations from engaging “electioneering communications” within 30 or 60 days after a primary election.
But, it is clear that the rule violated its right to free speech (Joo (2015)).
Remember that every corporation should have the right of speech. Speaking does not necessarily mean being able to control or influence the political process. However, it does allow corporations to voice their views which can be easily rejected by the public.
Therefore, corporations should be allowed speak on politics as well as the products. But the people still have the right of saying no.
Corporations aren’t people: How to reclaim democracy from global corporations and big money.
Coates IV (J. C.) (2015).
Corporate speech and the First Amendment: History, data and implications.
Corporate Speech and the Rights of Others.
Supreme Court denies contraceptive mandate for certain corporations.
New York Times