Now that Nightjack’s blog identity has been sprung and bloggers are no longer anonymous anymore, perhaps it’s time to “out” the anonymous newspaper correspondents and sources too?
Thanks to the Times it seems that bloggers no longer have the priviledge of anonymity. To be fair in the case of Nightjack the police who he worked for were closing in on him and would probably have worked out who he was fairly soon even without the aid of the Times.
However, now that the Times have removed the anonymity for bloggers, perhaps it is time that the same cloak of anonymity was removed from newspapers too? After all why should the foreign correspondent who wished to remain anonymous be allowed to do so by the Asia Times (no relation to the London Times as far as I know)? Sure, chances are the Chinese would have thrown them out of the country or perhaps something a little less subtle, but after all if Justice Eady can “blogging is essentially a public rather than a private activity” how much more so does that apply in the case of newspapers? Can we take it as read that the practice of having anonymous columnists will be ended forthwith?
Now, I’ll grant that there were special circumstances in the case of Nightjack in that Richard’s blog was a little too real and appears to have compromised some cases that he talked about but that’s a separate issue. The key think is that Justice Eady’s comments are way too far reaching. Taken to their ultimate conclusion and you could easily see the end of criticism in totalitarian states which, thanks to blogging, was finally finding a voice of sorts where previously it had none. The situation of newspapers is no different: why should their sources be protected any differently? After all, they’re talking to a news outlet so why should they have any expectation of anonymity?
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