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Are newspaper comments moderators abusing their anonymity to censor comments they don’t agree with?
It seems more and more British ‘upmarket’ newspapers are trying to generate controversy in order to get ‘clicks’ to their internet editions.
Recently, Julie Burchill and Suzanne Moore, both established journalists in the British media with their own particular styles, have been attacked and threatened in the comments sections of newspapers, and through Twitter, as a result of their own perceived attacks on the transexual community. Hardly frail flowers, there are many who believe they deserved it. But at least they didn’t use the cowardly luxury of hiding behind the cloak of anonymity.
I happen to believe commentators who use the internet to launch vicious attacks on others, using false names, should have their comments removed, but I do not believe newspapers should remove comments – anonymous or not – simply on the grounds they don’t agree with them.
Julie Burchill’s piece on transexuals, ironically intended to defend Suzanne Moore, is now under investigation by the police. Though withdrawn by The Observer – the original publisher – it can be viewed here.
Generally, I don’t agree with censorship on principle, though I accept it might occasionally be necessary. However, I certainly do not agree with moderators removing, or not publishing comments, just because they don’t like them, as seems to be a growing trend. Read more
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