: Harry Hatchet says he is fact-checking my ass on my Europhobia below (relating to a “right of reply” that will be granted against online media).

Harry says the report to which we’re all reacting is false.

But I’m not so sure.

The issue is that the regulation deleted the word “professional” before “on-line media.” Here’s the text:

the term “professional on-line media” means any natural or legal person or other entity whose [main] professional activity is to engage in the collection, dissemination, editing and/or dissemination of information to the public on a regular basis via the Internet, such as on-line news portals or bulletins…

The real question is whether a court could then fit a weblog under that definition. Still seems to me, it could.

Harry also points out that this European bureaucracy is not part of the bigger EU bureaucracy. I stand corrected. But how many bureaucracies do Europeans need?

And Harry wonders what the problem is with publications running corrections and replies? No problem; any self-respecting journalist — or, yes, weblogger; hell any civilized person — should do that. That’s not the problem. The problem is that once government decrees what you can and should and should not say and how and where you say it, you lose freedom of speech.

Here’s the proposed regulation.

And here’s Harry’s post. Note that I give him the right to reply without being stormed by EuroInfoPolice.

And see my comments; more good fact-checking there.

We link, you decide.

  • “The real question is whether a court could then fit a weblog under that definition. Still seems to me, it could.”
    Fine, except no-one is talking about courts. The Council of Europe draft recommendation is not a law and is unlikely to ever become law. Indeed the Council’s own code on this matters enshrines the principle of ‘self-regulation’ for media.
    In other words exactly what we have at the moment in the blogosphere – self regulation with most people (like your good self) having the decency to give a right to reply.
    Also I repeat this document does not refer to opinions/abuse etc but simply to incorrect FACTS.
    I am not sure how objecting to newspapers (or websites) having the right to ignore corrections to their factual mistakes improves democratic discourse or accountability.
    The objection to this idea (and because it is the Council of Europe that is all it is) is simply an expression of support for the right to print incorrect information and not be held to account for it.

  • Oh yes and the link is broken! Better to go direct to the homepage.