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Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

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Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  bb1 on Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:41 am

http://www.thisisleicestershire.co.uk/story-13350012-detail/story.html


The right to say 'no comment'

Astory about Madeleine McCann was published on our website last Friday. It was only eight paragraphs long and merely reported that British detectives who are investigating the case had travelled to Portugal for meetings with the Portuguese authorities. In the print version in the Mercury, the story made a short piece on page eight.

However, what was a relatively routine article received a disproportionately large number of comments from online readers.

In fact, the 26 messages placed on the story made it one of the most commented-on stories in the Mercury that day.

The reason for this disproportionate interest is because there are a number of people who are hostile to the McCanns and vent their opinions online, if given the opportunity to do so. For this reason, we usually bar the comment facility on any story connected with this family.

On this occasion, this article slipped through the net and people were able to leave messages.

Not all of them were hostile. Some people had gone on to the site to remonstrate with those making critical remarks.

One said: "The McCanns don't need comments like this and the LM should remove the comment facility as they usually do on this story."

As soon as we became aware of the situation, we did exactly that.

We have also taken some further steps to try to guard against it happening again.

I am raising the matter here, however, to explain why we follow this policy at all. Indeed, there is a view, generally held by those hostile to the McCanns, that our stance runs against the principle of freedom of speech and that they should be able to air their opinions on this matter.

The first issue here is a legal one. Some of the discussion around the Madeleine McCann case tends to stray into the area of defamation. Indeed, the McCanns have successfully sued several national newspapers for libel.

However, the law around internet discussion forums means our responsibility to remove libellous remarks only begins when somebody complains to us about a particular comment.

Nobody did so in this case, we took the decision to remove the comments unilaterally.

In any event, most of the remarks which were left were not libellous. Some of them were, in my opinion, very harsh and lacking in compassion, but that is, of course, not a legal issue at all.

What this is more about then is an editorial judgement, rather than one driven by the obligations of the law.

It is certainly true that we regard the principle of freedom of speech as an important one.

We create forums in the print version of the newspaper and on our website to enable readers to air their views. Sometimes, that discussion is extremely robust and occasionally people are offended by things that are said.

There are certain subjects where comment is likely to upset people.

Topics such as religious faith and immigration, for instance, are highly sensitive, but they are also important areas of public discussion, and we want to allow this to run as freely as possible.

There is a well-known observation that freedom of speech means the freedom to offend.

However, the principle of freedom of speech is not the only thing which we have to consider as a newspaper.

We have to balance it against other considerations, such as taste, fairness, decency and courtesy.

For instance, we would not publish a letter about immigration that we felt was racist (there is a legal implication here as well) or one about religious faith which was just insulting. Similarly, we would not print a letter that was obscene, or in poor taste, or which contained abuse.

Balancing freedom of speech against these other considerations is quite a tough call and we constantly wrestle with establishing that line.

Discussion forums online are a little different in that we usually only remove comments when they are reported to us.

We do not actively monitor messages left on our website. However, we still apply the same considerations when complaints are made.

What I have talked about so far relates to discussions around general issues of public importance.

The issue of freedom of speech becomes more difficult when it involves criticisms made against specific individuals.

It is obviously hurtful to see oneself attacked in print or online. There is, therefore, a greater weight upon us to consider things like fairness and courtesy.

Some individuals are more likely to attract criticism than others. Politicians are the obvious example. They are people with a high public profile who are making decisions which affect our lives.

I do not agree they are "fair game" as some commentators tend to assert. They are, in my view, entitled to a private life free from unwarranted intrusion and they are entitled also to respect.

However, politicians have to expect to be scrutinised and discussed and criticised, and that goes with the territory.

When the individuals concerned, however, are ordinary members of the public, who have suffered a terrible personal tragedy in their lives, the need to show them fairness, courtesy and respect is obviously much greater still.

In fact, I think the responsibility upon us in such cases is so greatly weighted towards the individuals concerned that it actually becomes very easy to establish the line between common decency and freedom of expression. In these circumstances, the former clearly outweighs the latter.

And I do not really accept there is any genuine issue of civil liberty at all.
There is no great public importance in allowing the criticism of people in this position. It is freedom of speech simply for the sake of freedom of speech. The ability to make nasty comments about the McCanns, for instance, is not important to our way of life or the future of our society. The only possible wider outcome is to cause further upset to them.

As a newspaper, it is, of course, important to us to uphold the principle of freedom of speech. It is a vital part of our credibility that we carry a range of views and that debate in our pages is lively and vigorous.

However, there are other values which are important to us also, the sort of things I have mentioned above, and which I think our readers also expect us to uphold, particularly as a community newspaper.

If some people feel they have a right to say whatever they like about the McCanns, they are perfectly entitled to find a forum for their views elsewhere.

However, we are not obliged to publish what they say and we will not be doing so.





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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  Pedro Silva on Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:45 am

Well done Leicester Mercury.
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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  bb1 on Sat Sep 17, 2011 12:16 pm

Also being discussed here:

http://stopthemyths.prophpbb.com/post34937.html#p34937

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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  rhodes on Sat Sep 17, 2011 12:40 pm

but did they leave the comments section on THAT article open? Neutral
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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  bb1 on Sat Sep 17, 2011 12:46 pm

Looks like their normal policy is to keep the haters shut out, Rhodes, but one article slipped through?
Hence the editorial statement.

This is good:

If some people feel they have a right to say whatever they like about the McCanns, they are perfectly entitled to find a forum for their views elsewhere.

However, we are not obliged to publish what they say and we will not be doing so.


Quite; they can keep their filth for their hate sites. And they can stop kidding themselves they have any right to inflict hate speech on normal, decent people.

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Few will weep tears for Amaral, seeing an angry man locked up in his own bitter and baseless theories
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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  Pedro Silva on Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:27 pm

Oh yes, I agree with bb1:

"This is good:

If some people feel they have a right to say whatever they like about the McCanns, they are perfectly entitled to find a forum for their views elsewhere.

However, we are not obliged to publish what they say and we will not be doing so."

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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  bb1 on Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:21 pm

It baffles me why they think they have any right to force people to listen to their hate speech, HB; happily, they can't force people to read their abuse, and they can't force the press to print it.

And let us not forget, they don't confine themselves to attacking the McCanns and their daughter; they hurl abuse at anyone even remotely connected to them, or to anyone who supports them.

I suspect it is something wrong with them in their hardwire; look at the way they pitchforked first Ms Yeates' grieving boyfriend, and then her landlord, because their lips were the wrong shape, or their hair stuck out.

And don't forget the ugly freaks who posted online abuse about the parents of the twins attacted by foxes...this one ended up in the Mail:



but a good few on MM decided that those parents DONE IT and blamed Mr Foxy Woxy as well.

It's some kind of sickness in their souls, IMO.

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Few will weep tears for Amaral, seeing an angry man locked up in his own bitter and baseless theories
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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  bb1 on Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:05 pm

Now what?

http://regretsandramblings.com/2011/09/19/the-viciousness-of-twitter-users/


Those lunatics hanging around with Brat need sectioned for the public good; I wouldn't have thought it was awfully good for MM's image having a mod involved with him.

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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  bb1 on Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:00 pm

Excellent post, Tony:

http://thehoundingofthemccans.blogspot.com/?zx=f83215ce3d021ba2

Stalking, Hounding, Vitriolic Bile. Where Will You Find It....On Missing Children's Sites And, Social Networks Like Twitter And Facebook.



That's their latest hero? That is whom the likes of the Aussie Angel and Anna Esse are currently billing and cooing at?

Is hoping for the McCanns and women journalists to die in a car crash now official MM policy? Because I doubt if Antoinette would agree with it; whatever her opinions may be, she will not tolerate that sort of thing.

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Few will weep tears for Amaral, seeing an angry man locked up in his own bitter and baseless theories
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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  bb1 on Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:34 pm

An interesting news story spotted by Tony:

http://thehoundingofthemccans.blogspot.com/?zx=fa8230e8bdc6d41f

Criminal law must deal with this; it shouldn't always be left to the victims to tackle these people through the civil courts.

Oh, and can I have a mini-rant about the UK government's scheme to meddle with current legal arrangements:

http://www.thelawyer.com/clarke-makes-his-mark/1005921.article

Only the Tories could come up with a scheme that makes it harder for the less-well-off to have access to justice or compensation for blunders by government bodies.

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Few will weep tears for Amaral, seeing an angry man locked up in his own bitter and baseless theories
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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  Sabot on Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:18 pm

bb1 wrote:Excellent post, Tony:

http://thehoundingofthemccans.blogspot.com/?zx=f83215ce3d021ba2

Stalking, Hounding, Vitriolic Bile. Where Will You Find It....On Missing Children's Sites And, Social Networks Like Twitter And Facebook.



That's their latest hero? That is whom the likes of the Aussie Angel and Anna Esse are currently billing and cooing at?

Is hoping for the McCanns and women journalists to die in a car crash now official MM policy? Because I doubt if Antoinette would agree with it; whatever her opinions may be, she will not tolerate that sort of thing.

I think Antoinette has gorn off in disgust.

Next?
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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  bb1 on Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:29 pm

I do not believe this. Those dreadful people are on about the 'ice cream' photo yet again. Rolling Eyes

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Few will weep tears for Amaral, seeing an angry man locked up in his own bitter and baseless theories
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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  Sabot on Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:47 pm

bb1 wrote:I do not believe this. Those dreadful people are on about the 'ice cream' photo yet again. Rolling Eyes

Yes, I saw that. Their brains are curdled with their own sick ideas. Nothing to be done about diseased they are. God help their own families if this is good parenting. And we wonder why Britain is going to the dogs.
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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  bb1 on Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:49 pm

A dreadful story, Tony:

http://thehoundingofthemccans.blogspot.com/?zx=bd7d5ff2f7285e1a

I was going to say, I hope it doesn't give the haters ideas. Then I realised that Brat is already hoping his victims die in car crashes, fires, etc.

I am near-speechless that they are going on about that photo again, Sabot. I can't imagine what goes on in their heads, and I don't really want to - what they have no shame about saying in public is quite bad enough.

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Few will weep tears for Amaral, seeing an angry man locked up in his own bitter and baseless theories
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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  bb1 on Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:10 pm

biggrin

One of the lot tearing Madeleine to pieces because her fingers are the wrong shape or something:

. I would just love to see a photograph of her with a dirty face and well worn washef out clothes on as she enjoys being a child.

Yes, sure, because then they could make snide remarks about the McCanns not spending any money on their children because it all went on jogging shoes or something.

Or Kate letting Madeleine run around with a dirty face while she was getting her hair done.

I don't know who they think they are kidding with this faux-concern.

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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  Sabot on Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:20 pm

bb1 wrote:A dreadful story, Tony:

http://thehoundingofthemccans.blogspot.com/?zx=bd7d5ff2f7285e1a

I was going to say, I hope it doesn't give the haters ideas. Then I realised that Brat is already hoping his victims die in car crashes, fires, etc.

I am near-speechless that they are going on about that photo again, Sabot. I can't imagine what goes on in their heads, and I don't really want to - what they have no shame about saying in public is quite bad enough.

I know what they are saying. God help me.Iit would never have entered my head four years ago. That they could turn the simple pleasure of a child with an ice cream into such an obscenity.
There really aren't words to describe how polluted they are, or the glee with which they express their sickening thoughts.

If they aren't actually paedophiles themselves, then they are certainly encouraging such awful thoughts in others who might be so inclined.
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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  Sabot on Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:24 pm

honestbroker wrote:
bb1 wrote:I do not believe this. Those dreadful people are on about the 'ice cream' photo yet again. Rolling Eyes

Ice cream photo?

Are you sure you don't mean this you-tube video of David Bret?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUnhfvGdmmw

No, HB. It is quite obvious of what they mean. Four awful years of this shite leaves one in no doubt.
My innocence is lost for ever.
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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  bb1 on Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:12 pm

http://thehoundingofthemccans.blogspot.com/?zx=1bd7561df0f8f665

I don't care if it does cost Zuckerberg a few of his billions; he and the rest of the social site operators MUST clean their act up, or they will find it being cleaned up for them by LE.

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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  bb1 on Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:02 pm

http://thehoundingofthemccans.blogspot.com/?zx=bd7d5ff2f7285e1a


Don't Feed The Trolls, Don't Feed The Trolls, That Is All I Have Been Reading For The Last Few Days. Wise Up, The Trolls Don't Need Feeding By Anyone To Exist, They Scavenge Around For Their Own Food.

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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  bb1 on Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:40 pm

http://regretsandramblings.com/2011/09/26/online-trolling-and-its-victims/



The post concludes with:

Oh by the way forgot to say, with regards to Spot the Difference, well there isn’t one.

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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  Sabot on Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:15 pm


Oh. I thought the one on the right was quite good looking by comparison.
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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  bb1 on Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:43 pm

The one on the right certainly has more hair...

You've got to applaud the way the haters rushed to get themselves involved with Brat, don't you? He's done them more damage in a few weeks than anyone would have thought possible.

And I doubt if it's done much for Hardy 'Apeman' Spudgun's already less-than-stellar career, getting involved with Brat, either.

Pcorneater

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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  bb1 on Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:50 pm

http://thehoundingofthemccans.blogspot.com/?zx=bd7d5ff2f7285e1a

Bret, There Is Something Wrong Inside Your Head. And You Are Leading A Campaign For Justice For Little Madeleine McCann? Yea Gods Man, You're Sick!

OMG, Tony that is beyond disgusting. You know, in less tolerant times, those ladies would not have had to put up with that sort of obscene abuse from Brat; he would have been sectioned, and spent his days shouting at the walls of his 'room'.

Even now, if he started shouting filthy abuse in the streets, he would be detained.

And this is the new leader of the anti-McCann brigade? Sums them up perfectly.

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Few will weep tears for Amaral, seeing an angry man locked up in his own bitter and baseless theories
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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  crazytony on Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:17 pm

bb1 wrote:http://thehoundingofthemccans.blogspot.com/?zx=bd7d5ff2f7285e1a

Bret, There Is Something Wrong Inside Your Head. And You Are Leading A Campaign For Justice For Little Madeleine McCann? Yea Gods Man, You're Sick!

OMG, Tony that is beyond disgusting. You know, in less tolerant times, those ladies would not have had to put up with that sort of obscene abuse from Brat; he would have been sectioned, and spent his days shouting at the walls of his 'room'.

Even now, if he started shouting filthy abuse in the streets, he would be detained.

And this is the new leader of the anti-McCann brigade? Sums them up perfectly.
Exactly, Bonny.

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Re: Leicester Mercury Says 'No' To Haters

Post  bb1 on Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:20 pm


Man who posted sectarian comments on Neil Lennon Facebook page faces jail

Stephen Birrell was snared during a special police operation launched to combat bigoted remarks on the internet.

A man who posted sectarian comments on a Neil Lennon hate page just hours after an explosive Old Firm clash is facing jail.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that 28-year-old Stephen Birrell was snared during a special police operation launched to combat bigoted remarks on the internet.

Birrell admitted posting the religiously prejudiced abuse on Facebook called "Neil Lennon Should be Banned" between February 28 and March 8, 2011.

He committed the offence just days after being released from a 12-month jail sentence.

Prosecutor Mark Allan told the court that a special team of officers began investigating hate comments on the web after the touchline spat between Rangers assistant manger Ally McCoist and Celtic manager Neil Lennon during the Old Firm clash on March 3.

Mr Allan said: "They came across a site called "Neil Lennon Should Be Banned" and noted that the accused had made various comments on the Facebook page."



Full story at:

http://news.stv.tv/scotland/west-central/272118-man-who-posted-sectarian-comments-on-neil-lennon-facebook-page-faces-jail/

Tick tock, haters.

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