We recently received a letter from one Ed Moloney who was not pleased at a series of comments made by commenters on Slugger during the run up to the election. However after a robust and lengthy correspondence we have resolved the matter amicably – see statement below.Whilst we don’t agree that the statements were necessarily libellous, we also don’t believe that public figures should be subjected to the kind of personal abuse Mr Moloney received. It serves as a potent reminder to some of our more passionate commenters that neither blogs nor their commenters are above the law.
The agreed statement:
On the 20th April a series of seven messages were posted in the comments zone on Slugger O’Toole, which represented an unacceptable and wholly inaccurate personal attack on the integrity and work of one of Northern Ireland’s most senior and highly respected journalists, Ed Moloney.
The comments remained there until Slugger received a letter from Mr Moloney highlighting these ‘disgraceful and egregiously inaccurate slurs’ on his person, whereupon we removed the same material immediately.
Mr Moloney, in common with most journalists whose work appears here, has no problem with robust criticism of his analysis and work. What he (and we) cannot tolerate are offensive and untruthful attacks on his personal integrity.
Although the matter has been amicably resolved between Mr Moloney and Slugger O’Toole, the issue of using Slugger’s freely offered facilities to unfairly attack the integrity of any public figure remains a concern.
We have now established a large team of moderators. Their job is to keep an eye on the comments and remove, post hoc, any likely offensive material as promptly as possible. To that end, we reserve the absolute right to edit or remove posts at our discretion.
The commenting facility here at Slugger is open to all. We want to keep it that way. The only way that can be guaranteed is that you play clean and play fair!
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty