Launch of Society of Editors’ Online Moderation Guide
In September 2014, senior editor of Imams Online, Imam Qari Asim attended the launch of Society of Editors Online Moderation Guide in the House of Commons. The Online Moderation Guide makes a number of recommendations to newspapers on how to manage comments they receive on their online articles in order to avoid offensive or distasteful hate speech online.
The rise in digital technologies, social networks and media convergence has meant that more and more readers are viewing and commenting on content online. The Online Moderation Guide, funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government, aims to strike a balance between freedom of speech and inciting hatred.
This moderation report deals only with comments on news websites and reactive comment to stories that have been placed on the website. It concerns the gatherers and publishers of mainstream news, those who invite users of their news websites to comment on the news stories and blogs they have published online.
ImamsOnline had a particular interest in this area as the Society of Editors year long research considered the moderation of comments that are made online on the basis of their religion, race, gender or age etc.
Members of the cross-governmental anti-Muslim hatred working group, of which Imam Qari Asim is a member, had also met the Society of Editors and expressed their concerns about the rise in online anti-Muslim bigotry and hate.
The Online Moderation Guide was launched by Minister for Communities, Stephen Williams. He said that people use pseudonyms and anonymous accounts to type comments they would never dare put in writing or say to someone’s face.
Imam Qari Asim said: “The Muslim community often finds that the anonymity offered by the internet is frequently abused by those who either maliciously or ignorantly use offensive and abusive language about Muslims. The Society of Editors Online Moderation Guide is an important stepping stone towards fight against online Islamophobia.”
Society of Editors executive director Bob Satchwell said: “We hope the guide will make an important contribution to understanding how vulnerable people can be protected without interfering with freedom of expression.”
The link to the guide can be found at: http://www.societyofeditors.co.uk/page-view.php?pagename=online-moderation-report