Google notified The Bolton News that its story about the jailing of three men for an attack on three soldiers in a nightclub is to be “erased” from Google searches under a controversial EU ruling.
Writing at the paper’s website, Ian Savage, editor-in-chief of The Bolton News, said: “As the editor of a newspaper, I believe passionately in the freedom of the press and I will fight any attempts to remove legitimate content.
“We are a responsible newspaper and our aim is to cover local news which is of both interest and importance to people.
“Clearly, people who aren’t happy that stories which we have legitimately published should not have the right to have them removed from a Google search, in my view.
“Moreover, it is a completely pointless exercise. Those who ask for these articles to be removed simply invite more publicity on themselves.
“This was an extremely serious court case, which merited a front page when we ran it back in 2010.
“To have this disappear from Google searches is frankly ridiculous, which is why I feel it’s so important to highlight this issue.”
The Bolton case is just the latest request reported by regional news organisations. The ruling is also causing confusion with readers mistakenly contacting local newspapers demanding retractions according to the Digital Publishing director, responsible for the regional websites within Trinity Mirror David Higgerson.
Posting on his blog he said: “Many of the newsrooms I work with have had calls from people demanding content be removed from online archives ‘because I now have a right to be forgotten.’ That’s wishful thinking on their part … they have a right to be removed from Google in Europe, that’s all.”
And that confusion is just about to become greater with the news today that Bing and Ask have become the latest search engines to start enforcing the ruling, according to the New York Times.