Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Comment Moderation

Up to this point we have always sought to ensure an open forum on this site, and though we moderate comments, we have only done so to remove spam or other automated "bot" comments containing links to scams or malicious software, something fairly common on any comment-enabled site.

Unfortunately, this must now change.

Recently I received an email threatening libel action against me, due to the comments on one of my posts that was not favourable towards the author of the email. The comment was not anonymous. I consulted with other bloggers, and considered the position. The person threatening me was associated with Carmarthenshire County Council, who have taken out libel actions against a blogger in the past, Although this action was subsequently ruled unlawful by the Wales Audit Office and has been suspended from our council constitution, a wealthy individual would not be covered by this precedent if they sued us as an individual. I have four children who rely on me financially and would not benefit from my being bankrupted. I don't own a house and have no funds to defend a legal action. People First is not a large, wealthy party. I feel I have little choice but to delete the comment in question.

I cannot promise that I will not be forced to do this again, though I would prefer it not happen at all. The use of libel cases and the threat of such is an increasing problem, with Jacqui Thompson of Carmarthenshire Planning Problems and More losing her case leaving the smell of blood (and money) in the water.

So long as I do not personally have absolute proof that a comment is not only accurate, but also would stand up in court against the finest barristers in the land, I cannot promise to keep every comment on the blog. However, I am prepared to give as much lee way as possible. When I receive threatening emails asking me to remove "whistleblower" comments, I will  inform the author of the nature and source of the complaint and my reasons for removing the comment if it is decided to do so.

However, as someone who lost their career due to whistleblowing  against greedy and self interested colleagues in the medical profession I have a big soft spot for whistleblowers. There are many ways of skinning a cat. If you have any information of this nature you would like to share I ask you to contact me with the details personally and confidentially at sian.caiach@peoplefirstwales.org.uk

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