By Paul Punturieri. "A local blog with news, events and things that matter to all citizens of Moultonboro"
"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
While it is certainly the Blog owner's prerogative to limit comments as he sees fit, I do believe that the change in the Blog's policy to require names for publication is counterproductive and inhibits some readers from publishing honest opinions. As examples of why this policy should be reexamined, I recall a number of comments over the years from Town employees who felt concerned about their job security if they identified themselves when criticizing either Town policies or the administration. By the same token, many individuals would rather not identify themselves with a particular local political position because of the risk or likelihood of being black-listed for their views. This is particularly true with regard to business owners who may not want to alienate customers or others by expressing their positions on certain issues.While the First Amendment provides for "free speech', there are limitations to such and individuals' concern of being identified inhibits many people and the blog from having a robust debate when identities are required. "Secret ballots elections" were designed and developed exactly to protect voters who didn't want to be coerced by an unruly majority. In fact, one of the most important elements of our constitution and a democracy (even though the US is a republic) is that it protects the rights of minorities from the possible "oppression" of majorities. This is the underlying reason for secret ballot elections.As I said, the Blog Owner sets the rules and can limit publication of comments as he sees fit. That being said, perhaps what Moultonborough needs is some sort of open bulletin board or blog that is run by an entity other than a private owner that will allow for a more robust public discussion of issues.
I believe the reasoning behind this new policy is due to the continuation of derogatory comments some of which are slanderous. I would also suggest that if the blogger could ascertain from a comment that it most likely was posted by a town employee who may be concerned about job security that he would publish it anonymously.
With all due respect to Ms Punturieri's comment, my criticism of the revised Blog Policy to require names was much broader than a concern over Town employees. It was intended to protect individuals who may have a meaningful comment to contribute on a particular issue but would prefer to remain anonymous as they would rather not risk being black-listed or shunned in a small community environment. There are many controversial issues from guns to community centers where many individuals, who have strong feelings, might like a neutral anonymous forum to voice their opinions and ideas without having to necessarily identify themselves.While comments should not be defamatory, or derogatory, I am certain the Blogger could control such, as he has for many years.I do note that since the new policy has gone into effect that the number of comments has declined precipitously.
Post a Comment