Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally

UPDATE: Ipswich Spy lets the local blogosphere down

2 Comments

Overnight Ipswich Spy has reacted to the complaints (here, here and here) levied at their editors for submitting a disgraceful article on Cllr John Carnall, which might be argued is libellous and defames his character and could lead to substantial damages awarded to the plaintiff under English Law if proven.

A retweet by me of an article by Politics Home’s Paul Waugh on a theoretical blogging complaints commission may have pricked the conscience of Ipswich Spy but more likely their fear for their financial future saw Ipswich Spy take the offending article down last night and replace it with a post on ‘Review of Standards’. They also submitted a new article which is a de facto apology (although not a direct apology to Cllr Carnall) for Tuesday’s article. The blog also says one or two of its spies/editors may have to ‘come out of the shadows’ to re-build their credibility. Ipswich Spy also say they may be posting less frequently in future, which I hope does not happen: despite their behaviour this week they are still a formidable political blog in Ipswich and I stand by their excellent coverage of the St Margeret’s ward by-election, which surpassed the Morning Evening Star by a wide margin.

Unfortunately for Ipswich Spy, the internet remembers everything and the article attacking Cllr John Carnall is still available on a Google caching server here.  We hope Ipswich Spy will offer a full apology to Cllr Carnall in due course.

On the issue of including online blogging in the same ball park as traditional print and broadcast media, I think this episode shows self-regulation works very well in the blogosphere because retorts, criticisms and complaints can be levelled immediately and in real-time – and in this case have patently led to positive action. I will blog in detail on potential blogging regulations as a result of the Leveson Inquiry another time but my initial view is existing laws and common sense is working quite well in the Ipswich political blogosphere at least.

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Author: gavinmaclure

IT professional; political blogger, former Conservative councillor

2 thoughts on “UPDATE: Ipswich Spy lets the local blogosphere down

  1. We're certainly not concerned about our financial futures because of any potential libel case. For libel to be proven in English law requires two aspects – firstly proof that the author or publisher maliciously published a story which asserted facts provably not in existence, knowing at the time of publishing that the author was making statements that were not true, the second aspect being that the person about whom malicious and untrue statements were made has suffered a quantifiable loss.We would contend that much of the article about John Carnall was believed to be true by the authors when it was published, that it was sourced from a senior source within the Conservatives, but that subsequent comment has proven some of the statements may be difficult to substantiate. It was not a malicious article in any way, nor was it designed to spread defamation about Mr Carnall. As soon as we determined that the story included a statement that was of particular concern, we removed the article from the site and said that we would review the article. The edited article will be going back up on the site as soon as it has been finalised in agreement with all contributors to the site.We are well aware that everything ever published on the internet is available somewhere, sometimes with a simple Google search, and that this can prove constantly damning to those involved, sometimes for years afterwards. We will therefore be altering the article and including an explanation which we hope will make clear our combined views for Cllr Carnall.We would also point out that to assert that we would lose a libel case is also, potentially, a statement that would be difficult to substantiate. Maybe all our bloggers should think longer before they publish about the PCC Code of Practice.

  2. The other day, while I was at work, my cousin stole my
    apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a 25 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now destroyed
    and she has 83 views. I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it
    with someone!

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