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Right of a blogger’s anonymity: a selection of views

June 17th, 2009Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism, Legal

Since this week’s ruling that NightJack, winner of the Orwell Prize’s first political blogging award, could not remain anonymous was announced – summed up  by Paul Bradshaw here -  bloggers, commentators and commenters have typed furiously (a few the links at the end of this post). Has the Times been hypocritical? What are the implications for those working and writing about life in the public sector? Should one be able to protect one’s identity as a blogger… or journalist?

The only thing Journalism.co.uk will add is this insight into the Times’ investigative process of the case, as provided by the Times:

“The action arose after Patrick Foster, a Times journalist, identified the NightJack blogger ‘by a process of deduction and detective work, mainly using information on the internet,’ the judge said.”

“Mr Horton was adamant that he had taken great pains to keep his identity secret. But on his blog, he also described his visits to a jiu-jitsu club, adding a hyperlink to the website of the organising body for the martial art. Lancashire Constabulary jiu-jitsu club lists only one member who is a detective – Detective Constable Richard Horton.”

Some of the wider discussion:

Finally, Horton’s Orwell Prize win as reported by Journalism.co.uk in April 2009:

“Anonymous blogger ‘Jack Night’ took the award in the blogging category, for his site NightJack.  In a speech made on his behalf, Jack said the last year had seen blogging become a more important part of the political reporting world. The blogger, who ended his posting after being shortlisted for the award, donated his prize to the Police Dependants’ Trust.”

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