May 23, 2008

Against free speech

Via Clive Davis, I learn that Sean Dodson at the Guardian is unhappy that people who have opinions he doesn't agree with are being given a public platform by the Daily Telegraph:-
A cursory glance (at the Telegraph's website) reveals that while it has some powerful and well-written blogs, My Telegraph is also inhabited by some very unsavoury characters, including a minority of active members of the far right, anti-abortionists, europhobes and members of an anti-feminist "men's movement". Such comments appear on all websites, the Guardian included. The difference with My Telegraph and similar sites overseas is that the newspaper is providing the platform for others to start the debate. On most comment sites, bloggers sanctioned by the newspaper group typically do so.
Shane Richmond at the Telegraph provides a robust response:-
Part of our definition of a "respectable newspaper" is one that doesn't try to tell its readers what to think. Our readers are entitled to their opinions and, within the scope of the law, they're entitled to publish them on My Telegraph.
I'm with Richmond on this issue. I don't read the Telegraph's readers' blogs but I'm pretty sure if I did, I'd find plenty to disagree with and maybe even some things I'd consider offensive. Nevertheless, the Guardian telling another newspaper what it should and shouldn't publish is completely beyond the pale.