Government Web Sites as Public Forums

Government Web Sites as Public Forums

Pearson Liddell Jr. (Mississippi State University, USA), Robert S. Moore (Mississippi State University, USA), Melissa Moore (Mississippi State University, USA), William D. Eshee (Mississippi State University, USA) and Gloria J. Liddell (Mississippi State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-857-4.ch002
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Abstract

Public managers who are the gatekeepers regarding the informational content of communication systems have to be especially cognizant of which resources to provide on public owned systems. At times, online solutions provided by the government may involve referring citizens to for-profit firms through hyperlinks on governmentowned Web sites (Sellitto & Burgess, 2005). The inclusion of one firm over another on government Government Web Sites as Public Forums Web sites has been noted to be a real concern for public managers (Menzel, 1998). In this article, we employ a legal perspective to examine the ramifications of public information strategies that allow firms to have hyperlinks embedded within the content of public information systems. This perspective allows the public information manager to make informed decisions when developing government portal strategies.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Reasonableness test: The standard of proof where the government has only to show a rational relationship to the furtherance of an expressed public policy in order to limit speech in a forum.

First Amendment: U.S. Constitution amendment that guarantees reasonable freedom of speech.

Designated Public Forum: A government-owned place on which the government has purposefully opened for discourse by some specific class.

Relevant Forum: The characterization of a forum as a specific place.

Forum: Any place for public discourse.

Nonpublic forum: A government-owned place on which the government has not opened for discourse by some specific class.

Strict Scrutiny Test: The standard of proof where the government must show a compelling reason to limit speech in a forum.

Source Credibility: people are more likely to be persuaded when the source of the message is perceived to be credible.

Traditional Public Forum: A government-owned place that has by tradition and longstanding been a place of public discourse.

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