OPEN LETTER TO STEVE COHEN,
EDITOR OF THE BUCKS
in response to the Editor’s Chair,
27th July, 2012
I have read and re-read this article several times and I still don’t understand what you are trying to say. As far as I can understand, you are saying that because we know who you are and we “know” your remarks are genuine, then that is Ok because you can defend those comments if called to do so.
Equally, you claim that “we” know who Ivor is, that he is genuine and thus accountable. No, “we” do not know who Ivor is and he goes to great lengths to hide his true identity. Nor do I understand how he is accountable, because as far as I can tell you always respond to any complaints about him with the stock answer “I love freedom of speech”.
However, you then go on to complain about “other faceless contributors” that would never want anyone “including me” to know their identity. Whereas I do agree with you about mad obsessed trolls (See Bucks Freedom Press Blogs “the BFP Zoo” and “Rehab for Keyboard Warriors”), I don’t agree that it is just because they can remain anonymous i.e. they don’t publish their real name. We all know of one particular “contributor” to the Bucks Free Press who has used his real name in the past, but loves to ridicule nearly everyone who crosses his path. Especially women.
It is also because there is no physical contact with the person they are insulting. They never expect to meet them and would probably run a mile if that situation arose. That person who continually insults me if I dare to comment on the Bucks Free Press is so far off the mark it can be quite funny. I am 90% certain he would not speak like that to my face.
The Bucks Free Press asks “Please be fair, courteous and respectful to the views of others so we can build a vibrant community in a safe online environment. You are personal (sic) liable for your comments and action will be taken against anyone who offends, ridicules or posts malicious and damaging views.”
However, as the Editor is so strongly in favour of freedom of speech, this isn’t actually true. Action will only be taken if he considers comments to be obscene or there is a danger of the Bucks Free Press being sued.
So, to get back to what I think was your point. It is fine for you or Ivor to publish your forthright views because you are “accountable”. None of us like ‘trolls’ who think it is their democratic right to be viciously rude to anyone they want. However, you love freedom of speech so you won’t do anything to stop them. You hate getting anonymous letters that you can’t reply to because you always like to respond even though you rarely believe a complaint is justified.