As you all surely know by now, the article entitled “Biased Banning Raises Brows” was recently removed from the Tip.It Times. There have been many spirited discussions on our forums about the reasons for its removal, and many of you have assumed that it must be because Jagex asked us to. I can assure you that this is not the case. Yes, Andrew Gower did contact us about the article, yes, legal action was threatened, yes, he was angry. Very angry. But is this the reason the article was removed from the site? No.
In free society, there is a place for healthy debate, and “free speech” implies that every person has a right to publish his or her personal opinions, without fear of retribution. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers". In journalism, this right is called “Freedom of the Press”. The concept of free speech is often governed by the same laws as Freedom of the Press, thus giving equal treatment to both individuals and the media under the law.
Freedom of the Press allows us to share ideas, opinions and provoke intelligent debate. This does not mean, however, that the media can play fast and loose with the facts, and print whatever they like without regard to others' rights. In journalism, there are ethics and standards that must be followed when reporting news events. These are commonly referred to as the journalistic "code of ethics" or the "canons of journalism", and include such basic principles as truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality and fairness. While these basic principles are regularly applied to newsgathering and reporting of news articles, they do not necessarily pertain to editorial, opinion or commentary pieces. These writings, by their very nature, are meant to make people think, incite discussion and stimulate fair and informed debate. While these types of articles are typically representative of the author's views and do not necessarily represent those of the news organization, magazine, newspaper and, yes, even a host website like Tip.It, an editorial should be honest and open about what is known and what isn't to avoid unfounded speculation.
An editorial writer should strive to make sure that bias is avoided, and that his or her views on controversial subjects are balanced. Simply put, an editorial or commentary should be honest and fair, and should not misrepresent fact or context. And, when discussing a third party's actions or policies, the information presented must be well sourced and based on sound evidence. The responsible writer will always make the distinction between commentary, opinion, guesswork, assumptions and factual information.
So by now you may be asking yourself “How does all this relate to recent events at the Tip.It Times”? It's simple. It was not the Editor's intent to disregard any of the accepted principles of journalism in his 10th March Tip.It Times article. The piece was an editorial, and was not intended to be presented as fact. Opinions are very subjective, and the reader MUST take that into consideration when reading an editorial or commentary. Now, while the Editor of the Tip.It Times is certainly entitled to his or her opinions, we do recognize that some of the statements in the article could have been misinterpreted, or interpreted as biased and one-sided. It is not our practice to offend, insult, demean or make assumptions about anyone in the Tip.It Community or, for that matter, any of the Jagex Staff or its policies. For this, we apologize, and we regret any problems that may have resulted from the article and its content.
Does this mean that the Tip.It Times will no longer publish controversial pieces? No. Does it mean that we will no longer provide you with informative, well-balanced editorials? No. We have implemented new procedures that will help ensure, from this point on, that our editorials are held to the same standards of accuracy as our maps, calculators and guides. Rest assured Tip.It will continue to strive to provide only the very best content possible – including enlightening, useful, entertaining and, above all, impartial, Tip.It Times articles.
If you'd like to comment about what you've just read or if you want to discuss this article with your fellow RuneScapers, you may do so in this forum topic.