The UK's 'Independent' newspaper unjustifiably censors reader's comments

Posted on | Sunday, 23 January 2011 | No Comments

In fact a somewhat mysterious application within the Independent's comment page, called DISQUS throws up the message to say a comment has been withheld pending moderation. Now I entirely agree with a moderating function on any open comment page but what is extraordinary is the innocuous nature of the post that in my humble view doesn't justify rejection (which has subsequently transpired as the original attempt to place a comment was 24 hours ago and it hasn't appeared).

The article that I attempted to comment on was in Saturday's issue, 22 January 2010, entitled, "Tony Benn: Protest is Vital to a Thriving Democracy" (http://ind.pn/f54noo) Benn's treatise would have us believe key historic demonstrations were peaceful. My response (the one blocked by Disqus/The Independent) read:


Mr Benn, we are somewhat surprised by your naivety.  Well before Gandhi or Nelson Mandela, or indeed the Suffragettes mounted their demonstrations, a North American slave encapsulated the need to demonstrate, but he called for more than just peaceful demonstrations. His name was Frederick Douglass, and he wrote:

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” 

If you believe the causes led by Gandhi,  Mandela, Grivas,  and a host of latter day freedom fighters (referred to as 'terrorists' at the time) were without violence, you are mistaken.  

Neither The Independent nor Disqus have responded to my subsequent emails asking why the comment had been rejected. 

Be warmed, freedom of speech stops at The Independent. Who's to know whether our comments are or are not filtered and selectively fed to the ISS. Frightening thought isn't it, but one we need to consider seriously when attempting to speak 'freely' though some of the UK media who would have us believe they are independent of state censorship. It's disturbing to realise that The Independent does indeed resort to third world censorship.

Update 6 February 2011. The Independent finally responded to my numerous emails through a Laura Davis presumably from their Moderation section to say she has posted my comment - that's over 2 weeks since Tony Benn's article! Go figure...

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