Recently, the story of a young nurse interning as a midwife at Hotel Dieu hospital and who has been expelled from her university because she posted an inappropriate and offensive post, overweight the garbage crisis we have in Lebanon. But did she deserve such harsh punishment for a simple offence?
According to Boss (2013), freedom of speech means to express one’s opinion without the interference of authority or other people, but of course, it has limits and regulations, for instance to take in consideration other people’s needs and values, or not to abuse the freedom of speech. Even though we live in a democratic society, Karen, the nurse who posted on instagram a selfie with the caption saying “take care bitches because we can kill your babies one day” did not take in consideration those limitations. Not only her actions affected the university she is in, but also the hospital she was interning in, she ruined the image of both university and hospital. Also, she indirectly insulted the mother of the babies and she scared them by saying that she can kill their children. Moreover, she ruined the image of the midwives in general, according to the Midwives Alliance: North American (n.d.) midwives are supposed to be an example of “maternity care”, which Karen did not show. Therefore she caused a defamation against several people, and defamation is considered as a crime if it’s publicized, and she did commit a crime when she posted this selfie with the caption to 14,000 followers, hence 14,000 people as “A separate state of mind” (2016) points it out. As a punishment, the university decides to expel her, and she was not given a fine or jail sentence, yet the consequences were too harsh considering her intentions, ignorance and “poor taste” judgment, and A separate state of mind (2016) explains how she was just seeking attention. Furthermore, this event was given too much attention than it’s supposed to (Step Feed, 2016).
On top of that, after what happened she made a public apology, thus this mistake that she has done, shouldn’t destroy her whole career. Nevertheless , Karen naively posted this instagram photo along with the caption, the punishment is well deserved considering the harms caused.
Unlike trella.org or Jean Assy, she did not spread a rumour about someone very important in society, and she did not get arrested, like Daniel Thomas (he tweeted an offensive and racist post, in ignorance), even though she committed a defamation, it was another sort of libel hence the consequences were different.
In conclusion, even though she had innocent purposes of posting a selfie with such caption, the consequences were bad taking in consideration that not insult she ruined the reputation of her university, of the hospital and of the job of midwives, but she also insulted the mothers of the babies she was taking care of.
Boss, J (2013) ‘Freedom of Speech’ in Analysing Moral Issues, New York: McGraw-Hill, p. 509
Midwives Alliance North American (n.d.). What is a midwife. Mana. Retrieved from http://mana.org/about-midwives/what-is-a-midwife
Fares, E. (2016). Slut shaming & public crucifixion: how lebanon handled a nursing student’s instagram caption. A separate state of mind. Retrieved from http://stateofmind13.com/2016/03/15/slut-shaming-public-crucifixion-how-lebanon-handled-a-nursing-students-instagram-caption/
Lemon, J. (2016) Lebanese intern’s instagram post steals national spotlight. Step Feed. Retrieved from https://stepfeed.com/more-categories/big-news/lebanese-interns-instagram-post-steals-national-spotlight/#.VvFV_7RURo6