Guy Adams: I thought the internet age had ended this kind of censorship

I'm still awaiting a detailed explanation from Twitter as to why my account was immediately suspended

Share

Here are three things that NBC prevented their public from being able to watch on network television so far this Olympic Games: live footage of the opening ceremony; live footage of Saturday's swimming showdown between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte; live footage of the USA men's basketball "dream team."

A fourth thing they do not want people to see is the email address of Gary Zenkel, the executive responsible for this shambles. And a fifth thing is my Twitter feed, which over the weekend contained a couple of dozen occasionally uncouth observations about their coverage, several of which were accompanied by the trending hashtag: "#NBCfail."

As a journalist, you know you are doing your job properly when you manage to upset rich, powerful and entitled people who are used to getting their own way. And you know you've really got under their skin when they pursue censorship, the avenue of last resort since time immemorial.

The internet era is meant to be different, though. Thanks to Twitter, and Google and every other medium dedicated to the free exchange of information, the world is supposed to have changed. That's why the Arab Spring happened; it's why Justin Bieber happened. And its why, regardless of its comparative frivolity, NBC's successful attempt to suspend a journalist from a social networking site sets an ugly precedent.

Twitter's guidelines forbid users from publishing what they call "private" information, including "private email addresses". There is plenty of sense in this. But I did not Tweet a private email address. I Tweeted a corporate address for Mr Zenkel, which is widely listed online, and is identical in form to that of tens of thousands of those at NBC.

I was not contacted by NBC or Twitter before my account was suspended. If they had dropped me a line, I might – might! – have quietly deleted the offending Tweet. Instead, they wandered into a PR controversy which has resulted in hundreds of thousands more people being made aware of its existence. Like any right thinking-person, I take the issue of online bullying seriously. I would hate for anyone to come to harm as a result of something I uploaded to the internet. But I'm at a loss to see how a bit of forthright correspondence from a disgruntled public could be anything more than a minor annoyance to a power-broker of Mr Zenkel's lofty status. I'm still awaiting a detailed explanation from Twitter as to why my account was immediately suspended. On the face of it, their reaction seems heavy-handed.

As for Gary Zenkel, he is supposedly a grown-up, with a salary, and ego to match. His TV network has decided to delay broadcasting key Olympic events until Prime Time on the grounds it hopes to make more money from advertising. NBC surely knew viewers would be upset by this. If it now displeases Mr Zenkel to get emails from those rightly-angry customers, then he is surely in the wrong job.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mosul falls: Talk of Iraq retaking the town, held by IS since June, is unconvincing  

Isis on the run? The US portrayal is very far from the truth

Patrick Cockburn
Ed Miliband:  

Ed Miliband: I pledge to make Britain a more just and equal country

Ed Miliband
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk