To the editor:
I believe the Gloucester Daily Times must address and solve a problem that is destroying the concept of a free and open press.
The Times correctly has a policy of "transparency" that calls for letters to the editor to be signed by the author and have a legitimate address.
When a person takes time to write a letter, a real concern for the community is being expressed. Whether "pro or con," the author places his or her name in public view. My question is: Why are the online comment authors allowed full anonymity to denigrate the views and opinions of authors who openly place their words in public view?
Gloucestertimes.com disclaimer policy — that "usernames with valid and verified email addresses ..." is not enough to be transparent. Commenters whose true authorship is hidden in cute but cowardly user names are not accountable for their words. I believe that, without full disclosure of who these "writers" are ... gloucestertimes.com fails the transparency test and fails the trust of authors who take time to write the Gloucester Daily Times and take ownership of their words.
An interesting parallel can be made with a Thomas Jefferson quote: "A government who fears the People is one of Freedom... A people who fear their government is tyranny.
"If news organizations fear the loss of citizen trust ... you will have accountability. If citizens fear ridicule of their news organizations... you will have silence!"
I want to admonish the Times to correct this injustice of cowardly behavior on its website, gloucestertimes.com. FYI ... Internet blogging is a relatively new invention. The British philosopher Alfred North Witehead stated: "New inventions all but destroy the cultures they occur in!"
The REV. RICHARD EMMANUEL
The Church Religions Trust
East Main Street, Gloucester