Associated Newspapers, owners of the Daily Mail and Evening Standard, have threatened recruitment blogger Peter Gold with legal action. It appears that Peter dissed The Appointment, their retail recruitment magazine, and so Associated have sent the boys round. Well, they’ve written Peter a nasty letter anyway.
I have no idea whether what Peter wrote is right or wrong. I don’t know enough about the retail recruitment market to comment. But it does strike me as rather strange that a company the size of Associated Newspapers should get so worked up about a few comments from a blogger. It’s rather like a prize-fighter getting annoyed because a little kid has called him a sissy.
Peter has, so far, refused to apologise and has kept the offending post on his blog. He has openly challenged the boys and girls at Associated to do their worst.
Whether you agree with Peter or not, this is an important case for all bloggers. As I read it, all he did was question the viability and quality of one of Associated’s publications. OK, he was pretty forthright in his language but does this amount to defamation? Come on!
If newspapers, or anyone else, are going to start scouring the blogosphere for people to sue*, then people are going to become much more guarded in what they say, even when they stop well short of breaking the law. For that reason, as many people as possible should link to Peter’s post. Just publicising this case and getting people talking about it might persuade Associated that, this time, they have over-reacted.
* Note to any potential litigators:- I’ve got sod all money so don’t bother!