In the digital age news content may be seen by more people in more places for much longer, so the potential to do lasting damage is greater. New article written by Ivor Shapiro and Brian MacLeod Rogers, both of Ryerson University, explores both legal and ethical implications of “the right to be forgotten” (RTBF). RTBF is a principle of European human-rights law that recognizes that people should retain some degree of control over information about themselves and their pasts.
News organizations have become more willing to grant requests for the unpublishing of damaging reports, but they have to balance between conflicting principles: the principles of free expression, historical integrity and accountability vs. harm reduction, privacy and redemption.
According to the writers, growing awareness of the “longtail” of news seems likely to influence more than just the adjudication of unpublishing requests. Guidelines based on categories of situation types may help resolve most matters.
The article “How the “Right to be Forgotten” Challenges Journalistic Principles” was published by Digital Journalism and it is available here.
Picture: Forgotten bark by Christophe Goessen, licence: CC BY 2.0