i Assistant Editor's Letter: The tale of the i Paper and the right to anonymity


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The Independent Online


The right to anonymity has been a hotly disputed topic recently, from the naming of those arrested on suspicion of sex crimes, whether the parents of children born as a result of an affair should remain out of the public domain, or the taking out of superinjunctions.

The majority of people happily go about their day away from the public domain, as another face in the crowd. They are known to work colleagues and to others within their field of expertise, but not beyond.

In newspapers, there are many people behind the scenes – before I featured in this column very few readers were aware that I have worked on i since pre-launch, aside from the occasional name-check from Stefano. I now have no such luck! But you know who has written an article or commentary because of the byline. We would not have it any other way. Imagine how frustrated you would be if you disagreed with a columnist but didn’t know who it was!

I was asked yesterday why we “never” feature tweets in our @i section (we do, but rarely). Simple – the same reasoning applies to readers’ letters. (Besides, you try making a valid argument in 140 characters!) Since the advent of Twitter, too many people are only too quick to offer up opinions from behind a cloak of anonymity. The Twittersphere is awash with trolls, who attack others without revealing their own identity. It is a different matter if you ask for names to be withheld in order to protect identities in sensitive matters, but we still need to know who you are.

So please tweet me, and by all means give me a mouthful, but please be honest – and that includes revealing your identity. You might even find your name in the paper.

Twitter.com: @jonesrhodri