Saturday, 19 September 2009 / Marc Wadsworth / Gelken

Odd sort of headline I agree.. but I am playing with Search Engine Optimization.

This post is designed with two main purposes. Firstly, to counter a libelous article that appeared earlier this year in under my byline.

The published story is a corruption of a piece I filed with The Latest.

Secondly, this post should serve as a cautionary note to anyone who files stories to internet based news websites - especially those based in the United Kingdom. You have little or no rights over the final editing of your copy, and if you are writing under a byline your reputation could be at risk at the hands of unscrupulous editors with an agenda.

After email negotiations with the website editor, Marc Wadsworth, I agreed to write a series of articles on reverse culture shock - very personal pieces that recorded my impressions regarding my first visit back to the United Kingdom in some 23-years.

After sending in the first article, I received an email from Marc Wadsworth with his 'edited' version. It was a complete corruption and distortion of my original.

I expressly told him I fundamentally disagreed with the changes he had made - including the very misleading headline, the insertion of unauthorized and heavily edited "quotes"; the use of a photograph of my wife, and the 'confession' that I had become a raging, right-wing nationalist.

Wadsworth responded with the bald statement that my original article did not fit the "theme" of his website, and if I was unhappy with the changes I could take my work elsewhere.

I told him I was extremely unhappy, and would indeed be taking it elsewhere. In addition I made it perfectly clear I wanted nothing more to do with The Latest.

He published anyway. He didn't inform me of his action, and I only found out by accident when I was subsequently questioned about the article.

Wadsworth's unethical and unprofessional conduct is beyond breathtaking.

Repeated emails petitioning him to remove this and my other articles from his website have been ignored.

I sought legal advice. The lawyers told me that while Wadsworth's editing was libelous, the laws regulating the internet in the UK are vague and ambiguous. They cheerfully told me they would be happy to write a letter to Wadsworth expressing my concerns - at a cost of almost GBP 700 - about $1,200 at the exchange rate at the time.

Wadsworth would face no penalty if he ignored the letter. The lawyers also said that to follow up on the case would cost me a trifling $500 per hour of their time, with a minimum of two-hours per 'session' of advice or filing for possible court action.

In many ways, I imagine that Marc Wadsworth would consider this blog post as libelous. Well I am happy to make a deal. Take that scurrilous story off your website, and I will take you off mine.

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: