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Editor slams ‘ridiculous’ right to be forgotten ruling

A regional daily editor has branded the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’ as “pointless and ridiculous” after a 2010 court report was erased from Google searches.

On 8 October 2010, The Bolton News splashed on the jailing of three men for a nightclub attack on three soldiers who had all served in Afghanistan.

Search engine giant Google has now informed the paper it has removed the story from its search listings in accordance with the controversial European Court ruling on the ‘right to be forgotten.’

In common with other Newsquest-owned titles in similar positions, the News has republished the story on its website alongside a report about the original story being de-listed.

The EU ruling gave people the right to request that articles deemed “irrelevant or out of date” be removed from search engine results.

The 2010 story details a court case in which Ben Barlow, Christopher Mahoney and Christopher Brennan were jailed after they pleaded guilty to violent disorder.

They had attacked a group of soldiers one of whom was glassed in the neck while another was kicked and punched on the ground.

The victims told the court they were more frightened in the pub than they had been on the front line.

Ian Savage, editor-in-chief of The Bolton News, said: “As the editor of a newspaper, I believe passionately in the freedom of the press and I will fight any attempts to remove legitimate content.

“We are a responsible newspaper and our aim is to cover local news which is of both interest and importance to people.

“Clearly, people who aren’t happy that stories which we have legitimately published should not have the right to have them removed from a Google search, in my view.

“Moreover, it is a completely pointless exercise. Those who ask for these articles to be removed simply invite more publicity on themselves.

“This was an extremely serious court case, which merited a front page when we ran it back in 2010.

“To have this disappear from Google searches is frankly ridiculous, which is why I feel it’s so important to highlight this issue.”


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  • July 16, 2014 at 10:18 am

    That’s absolutely outrageous. How can a violent attack that happened only four years ago be deemed in any way irrelevant or out of date? I hate the phrase, but this genuinely is a slippery slope.

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  • July 17, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Doesn’t the rehabilitation of offenders act come into this?

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