Thursday, March 03, 2011

Freedom to Debate

I have, for readers interest, forty-two comments that have never made it on to this weblog. Thirty-eight of these are personal observations, from the same person, with a distinct style of his own, that people will recognise from other local weblogs. Having lost his ability to post unrestricted, on ECR and elsewhere, these days, you will normally find him straddling Tony Flaig's weblog, commenting in his self-appointed role as Mark Nottingham's 'new best friend.'

It's not in my interest to censor anything on ThanetLife but I do have an acceptable use policy and like it or not, a  blogging protocol which I follow. So, no personal abuse, which the usual suspect, suffering as he does from chronic insomnia, will invariably leave overnight and nothing that might be considered libellous, as three other prominent local bloggers have discovered to their considerable cost in the last year or so.

At the same time, it is also sensible and not in any way 'pompous' or 'arrogant' to consider that not only is this my personal weblog but that coincidentally, I happen to occupy a modest political position of responsibility with an element of perceived influence over local issues. As a result, what appears here can and may be viewed as a tacit endorsement and potentially used against me or even the council.

So it doesn't take a genius to work out, that this week, for example, I'm not prepared to publish a serious of  'hearsay' allegations against Pfizer in the comments section or indeed, be drawn into an 'off-topic' public discussion of any on-going matter that involves some element of commercial confidence.

On that last item, it's not what readers think about their freedom to debate that counts, it's what I think that matters, because I'm the one directly responsible for any content that appears here and have to exercise a level of caution and restraint that on occasions I might not like but that readers should properly expect from me as a politician.

So, forty-two comments sitting unpublished in the comments section showing since the beginning of 2009 after eight years of writing this weblog, doesn't strike me as too bad in the circumstances and I would ask you to remember that in this country, rather than the United States, those who have most to lose should be the ones who are most careful of being intoxicated by what is generally misunderstood as the right to free speech.

1 comment:

Bluenote said...

Which all seems fair enough and, now, having read reference to this on both Tony's and Michael's sites, it all seems to be a bit of a storm in a teacup scenario.

Let us hope life can move on and we can all return to the normal cut and thrust of daily blogging without actually impaling anybody.