07 Oct, 2010
Right to anonymity
Posted by: admin In: Uncategorized
Interesting article about the move to limit anonymous comments from newspaper websites:
The more I researched the history of American news media, the more I realized that our profession’s disdain for anonymous commentary is built upon a myth. Anonymity isn’t anathema to American democracy; in fact, anonymous speech is exactly what the framers of the First Amendment had in mind. On a philosophical level, anonymity allowed opinions to be considered on their own merits, without regard for who was stating them; on a practical level, it gave people a way to disagree with leaders without getting beaten and/or thrown in jail.
Good points. He’s talking about anonymous commentary rather than anonymous sources used by journalists–but, I think there are some parallels. Yes, the public sphere does benefit from occasional anonymity, particularly when ideas could not come to light otherwise. But, the overuse of anonymity–with no clear motive or benefit–should be curbed.