Freedom of speech is one of the fundamental rights all Canadians enjoy. Such freedom, however, does not give the right to freely express everything one dares to think.
With that in mind, The Daily News wants to clarify its policy and practices around comments posted to stories on our website, with the goal of fostering meaningful discussion between individuals about topics in the public interest.
Recent online discussions on some of the stories on our site have not lived up to the standard described above. To the contrary, the threads have degenerated into personal and needless attacks sufficiently nasty to make us all feel ill at ease. In a couple of instances, The Daily News has taken the unusual step of closing commenting on some stories because of the increasingly insulting nature the online conversations have acquired.
We accept many in the web community feel online commenting should be moderated to the least extent possible. The Daily News, however, has a responsibility to the greater community as well. Allowing a forum for discussion to descend into nastiness serves no public good, no greater purpose, and in fact, dissuades many from joining in, from feeling like they have a place.
Read it. It sets out the kind of conduct and language we consider objectionable and are not prepared to condone. Starting today (Wednesday), The Daily News will ban users who violate the agreement as soon as we become aware of unacceptable conduct. No warnings, no second chances. This will be one-strike baseball, people, so play accordingly.
We don't want to stymie the discussion. To the contrary, we want to see lively debate on our online site. Be thoughtful. Challenge us and each other. Argue, criticize — be angry, even. Just be respectful. It's a small, simple thing to ask.