Should the BBC sign up for the bloggers code of conduct?

11 Apr

Over the last couple of weeks the BBC have been reporting the news about a possible code of conduct for bloggers, this follows their coverage of the Kathy Sierra case. Curiously, although Auntie seems to very keen to discuss acceptable standards of behaviour in the blogosphere, she doesn’t enforce the same standards on her own forums, or at least, not on the ‘Have Your Say‘ (HYS) section of the BBC news site.

At one time HYS was a great place to visit, one found a wide range of views and opinions being discussed in a vigorous, but articulate manner. Sadly, this has changed in recent months, and the boards have been infiltrated by what I can only describe as a bunch of Daily Mail* reading morons. It is easy to spot these folk, they have a tendency to blame anything and everything on either immigrants, single parents, the working class or just women in general. Today, conversation sunk to a new low – the castigation of low income pensioners**. For example:

Should’ve saved up and funded their own retirement properly…….

Stephen J Brown, Down South, United Kingdom

The fact that some commenters hold these views isn’t the problem, everyone is entitled to their opinion. No, what I object to is the BBC publishing the sweeping and derogatory statements made by these individuals which stereotype and insult vast sections of society. These people are nothing less than trolls, if they posted this kind of content on any other blog, it is likely that their comment would be deleted, or only allowed on a blog which encouraged inflammatory remarks. However, the BBC isn’t just any other blog.

The British Broadcasting Corporation is a publicly funded body. Every single television owning household in the country pays a compulsory television licence fee which is used to fund the BBC. In other words, the BBC belongs to the people of Britain, we are it’s shareholders and amongst those shareholders are a sizable number of immigrants, single parents, working class people and women (and pensioners). Bearing all this in mind, surely the BBC has a greater than average responsibility to keep it’s blogs and message boards free of insulting (and inarticulate) comments.

I believe everybody has the right to voice their thoughts, but there is a world of difference between arguing passionately but logically, and a bigoted rant. I do not want to read the latter, nor do I wish to pay for the privilege of doing so.

* Notorious for it’s support of Hitler in the 1930s
** You may need to click back a few pages, posts were coming in very quickly

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