Bloggers shouldn’t have a right to anonymity

By June 17, 2009 8 Comments


A UK court ruled yesterday that The Times newspaper has the right to name Richard Horton as the (until now anonymous) author of the Night Jack blog about policing in the UK (the blog was here, but the content has been deleted).

The ruling has been covered in the FT and on Gawker (where they also comment on a similar recent case in the US).

I know a lot of people will be upset by this development, but I welcome it.  Blogs are a public medium and if someone wants to say something in public they should be prepared to stand up and be counted.

This is, of course, a complex issue and we will doubtless lose some valuable social and political commentary as a result of this ruling (not least the Night Jack blog), but for me that sacrifice is worth making to protect society from people hiding behind anonymity for more nefarious purposes.  In particular I’m thinking of slander, libel and unsubstantiated claims against public figures and companies.

They put it this way on Gawker:

nobody ought to have a right or privilege to publish whatever they please without the consequences of their ideas redounding to them