The weekend that pwned GMG

IMG_20120929_201000The Observer’s editor John Mulholland was wrong to delete an offensive article by writer Julie Burchill. Mulholland also apologised for the offence that it caused but that’s where any action by the Observer should have ended.

There was once a time, not all that long ago, when there was no digital media. A time when journalistic and commentary output was printed on paper. It was read by many and public libraries became the print media repositories – a record of history.

If in the time of no digital, the Observer had published something offensive it could only apologise. It could not un-print or recall all the copies of the newspaper in existence. If the printed article tripped from offence into some type of harm such as libel, inciting hatred or other abuse the courts would provide redress.

But, the article would still be published – offensive, wrong, harmful or otherwise.

Because now with digital media that we have the means to remove offensive or harmful or incorrect pieces it does not follow that we should use it. It’s a start of a very slippery slope and opens the door to re-writes and white washes of what actually happened. If this weekend facts have discovered a gap between offensive opinion and words that require legal redress then Parliament should act to close that gap fast.

Opinions are often unrepentant, unpalatable and unpleasant but they should not be suppressed or censored. So much for GMG ‘owning the weekend’; the weekend pwned GMG.

Published by Brett

Brett is an experienced lawyer and business executive who focuses on commercial outcomes. He has worked across three sectors in England & Australia advising and leading initiatives in digital, media and technology

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s