A Case Study of the Foxconn Suicides: An International Perspective to Framing the Sweatshop

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A Case Study of the Foxconn Suicides: An International Perspective to Framing the Sweatshop Issue

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Introduction

The analysis done by the anti-sweatshop movement concerning the western mainstream media changed the perception of North American and European consumers towards the treatment of the laborers in the sweatshop-prone countries (Guo, Hsu, Holton and Jeong,  2012). The consumers discovered that western transnational corporations subjected workers in countries such as India and China to very deprived working situations. Low pay, discriminative treatment, and perilous environments characterized the working conditions better known as ‘sweatshop’. Suicide cases stirred up much ado about the sweatshop practices. However, the media chose to cast a blind eye to the major underlying problems of global social injustice and features of the global economy. Worldwide labor unions and various activists struggled to uncover the sweatshop issue but there was insignificant change. The labor practices in these companies had a negative impact on human rights and also reduced the rate of social and economic development. Social actors, such as the government, activists and international organizations gave their versions of the story. They wanted the public to get their opinion of the story. The news media have a significant role in presenting biased information. The Foxconn suicide is an example of an example of a global sweatshop issue that presented an ethical dilemma in the news media. The issue enveloped various issues such as global justice and human rights. Many individuals claim that the issue revealed ethical dilemmas in news media. The issue affected many stakeholders of the Foxconn group because the media gave different information regarding the events that took place. The analysis of the Foxconn suicide reveals various issues surrounding the sweatshop matter.

The Foxconn suicide is a global issue because of the controversial reports made by the media. Fourteen employees committed suicide in a span of thirteen months. The news media of the United States reported that the incident occurred in China, so they have no answers concerning the reasons why the individuals committed suicide. They claim that China should remain accountable because the employees who committed suicide were Chinese and not Americans. They framed China for the case, yet the two countries participated in running the Foxconn Group. They blamed the poor living conditions on the economy of the country and not the ethics of the organization. The ethical dilemma of the news media arises because the media did not acknowledge that the Foxconn group was a sweatshop. The employees provided cheap labor without any increment in their salaries. The worked under harsh working conditions and no one bothered to address their issues. Many people rely on the media to get news, so the media took advantage of this fact to provide information that favored each end of the social actors. The media should provide unbiased information to the public and should not give varying reports that favor significant parties. The United States media did not reveal the problems faced by the workers in the Foxconn group. They wanted the whole world to believe that the social and economic instability in China enhanced the deaths of the employees. The media also highlighted the issues facing the country, to cover up the inappropriate working conditions. The United States media linked the murder with the poverty level in the country and claimed that the Foxconn group had nothing to do with the suicide.

The news media use the deontological theory to address the issue of the Foxconn suicide. The deontological theory suggests that people should follow identified rules while performing their tasks. The news media gave reports that favored each social actor. When approached by the activists, they claimed that the Foxconn group was a sweatshop. The United States government framed China for the suicide. This made the media reveal the poverty in China. They highlighted other issues that enhanced the suicides to remove the United States government from the blame. The news media obeyed the rules made by the social actors because each of them had a significant role in the country. The news media also followed the utilitarian theory because they wanted to present news that would bring change to the lives of various individuals in the China. They presented the poor living conditions of the Chinese people to make the government address the issue. The breach also aimed at reducing the number of sweatshops in the region. The breach had an impact on the workers of the Foxconn Group and other sweatshops because consumers did not want to associate themselves with their products. The news media used these two theories because they had to obey the rules and also help many people in marginalized areas.

The ethical breach had direct or indirect impacts on various stakeholders. Steve Jobbs, a significant stakeholder of the company, claimed that the company was not a sweatshop. This statement had an immense impact on his company, Apple. Activists in China and the United States revealed that the company was a sweatshop. The deaths of the employees also acted as evidence against the claims of Steve Jobbs. His statement was controversial and seemed to favor the Foxconn group because portraying a negative impact of the group would affect the relationship of the two companies. The news media publicized Jobb’s statement and people had various opinions. Jobbs statement had a negative impact on the employees of his company and those of the Foxconn group. The breach made the employees believe that the two companies did not care about their welfare. The top most officials had more concern about the future of their businesses than they had about that of the employees. The breach also encourages more deaths of employees because they believe that their companies have no concern about their welfare. The breach also had a negative impact on the customers of Apple. Customers may not feel comfortable using products made by people who have no human rights. Apple products are expensive, so the employees should also benefit from the profits of the company. The perception of the customers will also affect the sales of the two companies.

The government plays a significant role in ensuring companies pay their taxes and making laws that enhance the progress of the company. The ethical breach also has an impact on the governments of the two countries. The governments of the two countries failed to play their full role in running of the Foxconn Group. The world develops a negative view of the United States government because they failed to address the issues affecting the Foxconn employees. The United States played a significant role in running the Foxconn Group. The government had the responsibility of ensuring that the workers had an appropriate working environment. The United States government claimed that the issues happened in China, so the government of China should take the blame. The Chinese government also neglected the human rights of the Foxconn group employees. The ethical breach also had a negative impact on the Chinese government because they portrayed it as a failed government. The Chinese left the rural areas to work in companies such as the Foxconn group because they wanted to survive. This meant that the government of China ma.............


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