Disgruntled classical pianist Dejan Lazic probably wasn’t expecting an entire article in response to his request for a 2010 review on his performance to be removed under the European Union “right to be forgotten” ruling.
But then, the Washington Post weren’t expecting such an ask from the Croatian-born maestro either – the first of its kind the publication has ever received.
The original review was written by critic Anne Midgette. The Post described her words on Lazic as “tepid” and “peppered” with citations on his achievements.
“Not eviscerating,” they write. “Not a 'slam.' But a criticism, sure.”
Unfortunately for Lazic, it appears top of the first page of his Google results. So he used the EU ruling in order to demand that it be permanently deleted from the internet.
“To wish for such an article to be removed from the internet has absolutely nothing to do with censorship or with closing down our access to information,” the Post quotes his email to them as reading.
Instead, Lazic argued, he should have the right to control “the truth” of his own public image.
“It's a question that goes far beyond law or ethics, frankly — it's also baldly metaphysical, a struggle with the very concept of reality and its determinants,” the Post writes in response to the request.
“Lazic (and to some extent, the European court) seem to believe that the individual has the power to determine what is true about himself, as mediated by the search engines that process his complaints.”
The piece goes on to suggest that Lazic’s ask demonstrates how the ruling might be misinterpreted and potentially misused in the future.
Under the current ruing, removed articles can be deleted from the European search engine, but cannot be got rid of from the worldwide web entirely.
“We ought to live in a world, Lazic argues, where everyone — not only artists and performers but also politicians and public officials — should be able to edit the record according to their personal opinions and tastes,” the Post concludes.
“This is all in pursuit of some higher, objective truth.”
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