British newspaper’s hosting of anti-immigrant blog raises questions over censorship

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” — Evelyn Beatrice Hall

Most people value everyone’s right to free speech, and the Internet is arguably a medium where it’s much easier to exercise that right, but every so often questions are raised over how much should be allowed to stand, particularly when an organisation hosts user-generated content.

Recently, The Telegraph — a British broadsheet newspaper — has been spotlighted for hosting a blog written by Richard Bambrook, a prominent member of the the British National Party (BNP) known for their outspoken views on immigrants.

Recently, he posted a blog entry under the heading “Blame the immigrants” in which he proceeded to blame the majority of knife and gun crime on immigrants. “I have had enough of people being afraid to actually say what they really want to say. Yes … it is the immigrants,” he wrote.

A Telegraph spokeswoman defended the newspaper’s decision to host the blog, suggesting they’d had no complaints, adding, “we believe our readers are intelligent and discerning enough to avoid the content they dislike and report that which offends. That doesn’t mean the Telegraph necessarily endorses their opinions nor promotes them.”

The Telegraph launched its My Telegraph community blogging platform last year, and now boasts a 20,000-strong membership. Moderators check for offensive/illegal content.

The fact is that Bambrook hasn’t written anything illegal, and if The Telegraph refuses to publish his comments, he’ll simply publish them somewhere else.

(Via The Guardian)

Deal With the Devil: Week 2

Two weeks ago I blogged that, against YOUR advice, I would be offering my blogging services on a weekly basis to a larger media company – for free.

Here’s the latest update. Nine days ago I submitted an article to the company. And since then: silence.

My article has not appeared on their live site and I have not been updated as to when it would appear. In the meantime, I did not submit an article last week. I plan to hold back until the editor explains what their editorial process is. In hindsight, a question that I should have asked (or the company should have outlined) ahead of time.

Next time, I’ll be sure to find out:

– How in-depth will my piece be edited; content? length? spelling? etc.

– When I should expect to see the article posted.

– How stringent the issued word count is.

– Who I can contact if my main contact is out of the office.

– As estimate of traffic I should expect from my blog entry.

My goal with this series of posts is to help you make better decisions in similar situations. I also hope they’ll open the eyes of companies that pursue bloggers on what they should and shouldn’t do.

Signed a Deal With the ‘Devil’

Last month I asked: “Should You Allow Major Media to Publish Your Blog Posts?

The answer was a resounding, “NO!”

Since I can never resist going against the current, I’ve just signed on to blog for free (once a week) for a decent-sized media company.

While I completely agree with most of you that this will likely result in greater success for the company, and not little ol’ me, I’m looking at it as an experiment.

The contract clearly states that they can pimp my name, my blog’s name, my likeness, etc. for THEIR financial gain. Also, the content has to be 100% fresh and can’t be posted on my blog. Since the two are closely related, in a way, I’m robbing my blog of good content. I can ‘opt out’ at any time.

I will use this space in the coming weeks to report the results. Perhaps we’ll all be pleasantly surprised. At the very least, you can sit back and say, ‘told ya so,’ when I help the corporate monster grow even larger.