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Opinion: Beware digital challenges to the paper of record

January 30, 2013 in Comment, General, News

Scarfe cartoon of Netanyahu @ procartoonists

Gerald Scarfe cartoon of Benjamin Netanyahu @ procartoonists.org

The Sunday Times has removed the Gerald Scarfe cartoon from all of its digital editions following the controversy about its print publication.

The retrospective removal of the cartoon reported by Press Gazette this morning challenges a traditional role fulfilled by printed journalism as a paper of record. The removal of the image changes the paper of record, post publication.

We believe that such “digital cleansing” is harmful to the expression of opinion in publishing, in either print or pixel form. If the cartoon was good enough to see the light of day in ink on Sunday 27 January, 2013, then it should exist in the enduring pixelated editions too.

To be clear, we do not think this act of removal is “censorship” – that would have prevented Scarfe’s opinion cartoon being published at all. And the owners and editors of the newspaper also have a right to do as they will with the content they purchase from contracted contributors.

But when retrospective editing of “controversial” published items becomes acceptable practice inside digital newsrooms then we start to worry about access to provocative drawn opinions, and probably also written ones.

Are we right? If you have things to say about this, please do so in the comments below.

  • The Scarfe cartoon was certainly a provocative image, but that is to be expected from a political cartoonist. One of our members, Martin Rowson, helpfully explains why such cartoonists do what they do here.
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by Royston

Cartoonist of the Year nominations

March 2, 2009 in General

bpa09The nominations for the Press Gazette’s British Press Awards have been announced. The event takes place on Tuesday 31 March. There are seven people in the running for Cartoonist of the Year, and they are as follows:

Steve Bell, The Guardian
Dave Brown, The Independent
Michael Heath, The Mail on Sunday
Stan “Mac” McMurtry, Daily Mail
Matt Pritchett, Daily Telegraph
Chris Riddell, The Observer
Peter Schrank, The Independent on Sunday

The British Press Awards have been running for more than 30 years. This year’s ceremony is being held at the Grosvenor Hotel and will be hosted by Channel 4’s Jon Snow.