The denial industry: Public relations, ‘crisis management’ and corporate crime
785 - 797
International Journal of Human Rights
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© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. At the instance of corporate crime resulting in human rights abuses, civil society organisations react (as a social audience) to label the deviance. This public censure triggers in corporations a discourse of defence, which attempts to neutralise the deviant label – in order to protect reputation and goodwill (an accountancy term, ‘goodwill' is usually classified as an intangible asset on the balance sheet). To carry out this defensive ‘crisis management’ more effectively, corporations frequently employ the services of public relations (PR) companies and specialist law firms. This paper investigates the role of these agents in the defence against allegations of corporate crime – specifically in the manufacture of ‘denial’. Using the example of an organisational crime which involved human rights abuses, this paper will assess the role of PR companies and law firms in deploying propaganda to deny and neutralise public censure. The paper looks specifically at the interrelationship between the elucidation of corporate crime by civil society and ‘anti-publicity’ campaigns of neutralisation and denial run by corporates.
- Department of Law