Saturday, June 11, 2016

The UK Guardian Brexit the Movie Free Speech correspondence

The UK Guardian and Freedom to Comment 

For many years I have been a devoted reader of the UK Guardian. It was a liberal newspaper and I enjoyed its articles which were educated, intelligent and well balanced but just lately  I have noticed an extreme change and it relates to the UK  Guardian and the EU Referendum. On this topic the Guardian editors have decided that the EU is a good thing and only articles in favour will be allowed and it seems anyone pointing out that there is another point of view must be silenced.

Actually I can hardly believe it. I have enjoyed commenting on the Guardian for many years. Yes, I can put forward an unpopular point of view but I try to do so in a respectful way and in fact anyone reading my comments would be hard pushed to find any that would be classed in this manner but it seems something I wrote had annoyed the Guardian Moderators on this occasion and it seems that my offence may have been pointing out that the Guardian does not like anyone who disagrees with its EU policy!

This is really censorship of the worst kind and is unworthy of this great newspaper. A free press is essential to a democracy and also the freedom to comment. I think the problem may lie that when I was at last able to comment, I pointed this out and suggested that readers watch Brexit the Movie  as an antidote to all the pro articles the Guardian had published.

I now see the following warning shown above every time I try to comment and my comments are not published.

How can one trust a newspaper that behaves like this. Obviously one cannot, Well not on this topic it appears. This is the comment which appears to have caused the problem:

BREXIT THE MOVIE _ YOUTUBEThis explains the EU rather well too! At last one is able to make a comment on this subject.
Having watched this well made film it is easy to see why the fat cats of the Establishment just love the undemocratic EU. Everlasting well paid jobs for the elite and no voters to worry about.
UK would be crazy to remain in. Why not discuss it Guardian?

Can you see anything disrespectful in that? Well the film does put the case for leaving the EU rather well, possibly a bit too well for the Guardian at the moment. I was of two minds about the exit but after watching this I now know Brexit is possibly the only way for UK to maintain its own identity.

So sadly I must leave the Guardian as I can no longer trust it but such is life. 


As you can see I wrote to ask why I had been moderated and after a bit of a wait where my comments were simply "What can I say?" I received this reply  which is worth documenting and here too is my answer.

Hello Janette, 
Looking at your user history, I can see that your comments linking to the Brexit: The Movie video were blocked by a moderator because they didn't engage with the articles under which they appeared. As a result, they were considered off-topic under the terms of our community standards:
8. Keep it relevant. We know that some conversations can be wide-ranging, but if you post something which is unrelated to the original topic ("off-topic") then it may be removed, in order to keep the thread on track. This also applies to queries or comments about moderation, which should not be posted as comments.
In addition, we've also been dealing with an organised campaign to flood EU discussions with links to this video, which also violates the community standards:
7. We will remove any posts that are obviously commercial or otherwise spam-like. Our aim is that this site should provide a space for people to interact with our content and each other, and we actively discourage commercial entities passing themselves off as individuals, in order to post advertising material or links. This may also apply to people or organisations who frequently post propaganda or external links without adding substantively to the quality of the discussion on the Guardian website.
From your account history I can see that you have a long record of constructive contributions to discussions at The Guardian, and that you aren't posting from one of the new accounts created simply to propagate this link. Accordingly, I'd be happy to remove the premoderation sanction from your account provided that you're happy to return to making comments relevant to the articles under which they appear.
Community Moderator


Kiaora Craig

Thank you fro you email regarding my red exclamation mark and thank you for offering to remove it which I should be extremely grateful. It sort of reminds me of my convent school when any form of revolt  was quickly nipped in the bud.

I was born in Windsor but I have lived in NZ since 1974 when the UK dumped NZ in a very cruel way in favour of the EU so perhaps I have a very different view on the current situation. At the time it seemed a disaster for NZ and it was but now NZ has survived and makes its own deals and maintains its own culture. It is different to UK as it is egalitarian which I and my GP husband liked. Virtually no class system.  NZ was good to me and I was voted  Auckland Woman of the Year m1982 by  the women of Auckland for taking on the Council over the Arts! I doubt I would have got any opportunities in UK to do this.

I have been alarmed at the number of pro-remain articles which go unchallenged. They mostly all are at the moment so it is not surprising that the Guardian will get swamped by Brexiters. I did it quite independently. I even went off topic because of the few opportunities to put forward a view that is not catered for by the Guardian. It is a form of censorship that I think is unworthy of this great paper.

It might have been easier to acknowledge this video. Yes, Brexit the Movie is pretty convincing but th Guardian's  pro-job is to show why it is incorrect not shy away from it. I know this is difficult. The bit that hit home with me, who lived through the tail end of the war and the 11 years of rationing, was to find out that in Germany after a short initial period of rationing there was no rationing! However UK did get the NHS and social welfare and this could have been pointed out. It explained why controlled planning can hinder creativity and progress. 

However your response was gratifying. I promise that I will not comment off topic again unless I am forced to do so. I shall say three Hail Marys and make a firm purpose of amendment.

I look forward to being red exclamation mark- less!


One should not have to do this to protect democracy in this day and age in a civilised society but the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

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