Cornwall Ontario City Council Defers Vote on Anonymous Comments Ban For Media Sites they Advertise on – November 15, 2011

Cornwall Ontario City Council Defers Vote on Anonymous Comments Ban For Media Sites they Advertise on – November 15, 2011

CFN –  Interesting evening at City Council last night.   Alright, maybe not interesting, but some ground was covered.   The real story is simmering under the eye of the public.  It wasn’t discussed at the meeting which had a full compliment of city managers.

John Towndrow of Transition Cornwall + made a presentation to council about the work his group has been doing and requested that they be given more access to city staff so that they could work together with Cornwall.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKVFWOENGHI

Bob Peters of Economic Develpment then had his report to council deferred.     It was  a hastily put together report that some have called a “Witch Hunt” against the Cornwall Free News.  The report targets Media that have anonymous comments.

It suggests to council that the city pass a policy that it would not advertise on sites that do so and singled out locally The Standard Free Holder and ourselves.   Oddly we are the number one ranked Online news site and the Free Holder number two.   Banning advertising with us I’m not sure would accomplish much, but the fact that this report was issued and comments from some of the councilors like Syd (not the kid) Gardiner and Elaine MacDonald show a complete lack of understanding and knowledge of the subject.  Councilor Thibault I think understood this best and asked the very relative question as to why it was simply online sites and not any corporations?  IE if the Free Holder allowed the comments it does why advertise with them in print if what you truly are caring about is branding?

It shows how sensitive and thin skinned some people are.     There are pros and cons to anonymous comments.   Cornwall is very sensitive to that right now because of the Diane Shay whistle blowing case, but this is exactly why anonymous comments are of  value as I’m sure any city employee  who’s wanted to whistle blow can attest to.

Councilor Clement made some very strong points.  It really doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and in the end you can’t change how people think or feel unless you change how you do things.   Silencing voices in a heavy handed manner such as what Mr. Peters did yesterday on the cities facebook page only in the end gives more credence to those points made that are deleted.

Cornwall like many areas is evolving into today’s technical age.  The report was deferred.  Hopefully calmer, saner,  and less heavy handed minds prevail.

Personally it’s always a bit odd covering a story you’re a part of.   Watching this unfold and listening to comments made on a report that was grossly inaccurate  (at least regarding CFN) was odd to watch.  Not being allowed to repudiate the report was frustrating.     Having the City of Cornwall state that we are essentially an  unmoderated home of profanity and viscous personal attacks is something that if I  was as thin skinned as some of the councilors would be quite upsetting.

Here is the video of that segment of council.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CTb9UCI5KE

Here is the a link to our story with the entire report to council unedited.   LINK

So do you think Anonymous comments should be allowed on sites or is it that whether anonymous or not sites should moderate, as we have always done,  so that certain types of conversation not be inflicted on the public?   You can post your comments below.

Eight Zero Zero

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