Protected: Peterloo discussion 27/11/11 – 11/12/11

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Protected: Peterloo discussion 11/11/11 – 25/11/11

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Peterloo Latest Update 06/11/2011

We have had the definitive answer back from Alan Rusbridger – here it is in full:

Thank you for both your correspondence and for your patience in waiting for a response to your concerns about the Guardian’s stance regarding the Liberal Democrats.  As I said in an open thread just before the 2010 election, the Guardian is the only national newspaper with no proprietor and is free from any party political allegiance.  At the moment of an election we will nail our colours to the mast for what we think, based on the Guardian’s values, offers the best hope to the country (and since 1945, we’ve come out for all three main parties) but thereafter it’s our role to scrutinize those with power and influence and to offer the best analysis we can of their plans and actions.

The paper’s stance on any issue is found openly in the leaders’ columns and beyond that page columnists write as they think; there is no “line” our journalists have to take and we are proud to welcome a greater range of contributor opinion than, I believe, any other newspaper.  Just as importantly we offer no shortage of ways for people to challenge what they find in our pages in print and online.  Readers have the opportunity to share their views on each and every leader, as well as columns on Comment is free, which over the past five years has become a vibrant hub for debate and dissent.  As you know, Polly Toynbee addressed the issue of the Guardian’s support for the Liberal Democrats only a month or so ago ( and more than 700 people responded.

I note what your group is saying about what it perceives to be a “continuing backing of the Liberal Democrats”.  It’s subjective of course but I’ve done a quick review of all the leader articles published since the one to which you refer in May 2011, and of the 11 that significantly concern the Liberal Democrats, none — even where they give due credit  — could be described as offering unalloyed approval.  They variously strike notes of concern, discomfort, an urging to do better, or direct criticism.  One is perhaps neutral.

I hope this helps explain the position as I see it.  Your continuing thoughts on this are always welcome whether in debate on Cif and elsewhere on or directly to me.  We’d prefer, however, not to launch an open thread at the moment, simply because there are many important issues readers want to discuss with us and we’re currently exploring a new “open” initiative for making this happen.

Kind regards

Alan Rusbridger

It’s a rather circuitous reply but in short, they’re happy with the editorial policy as it is.

At the outset of the campaign we made a conscious decision to give the Guardian a chance. Our strategy was to follow 2 distinct courses simultaneously, one following through conventional channels presenting the misgivings of political and financial churnalism, the other being activism through social media.

With the above answer it means the strand following conventional channels has now reached its termination. It also means the campaign will be broadening it’s focus – no longer concentrating solely on the Guardian – but on the Uk media itself.

The change in scale means the Peterloo campaign will be run from it’s own blog here:

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Peterloo customisers – the knockers.

And of course the extended jamming session goes on  – below is a selection of custom avatars that I’ve come across on my CiF travels that are celebrating riffing on the Peterloo theme – mouseover the images for the creator’s name. I’ll add in more as I come across them or I get them pointed out to me, but so far the Portaloo Massacre is my favourite.

Feel inspired? Download the photoshop templates for easy customisation. Just want a ready made? Originals, all new versions and the photoshop templates here:

Peterloo avatars – scroll down after clicking

Wondering what this is all about?

The Peterloo avatar is being used on the comments section of the Guardian newspaper by posters .

Why Peterloo?

The Peterloo massacre was an attempt to kill, literally, a pro democracy march. The fact cavalry charges and unsheathed sabres were used against women and children provoked such horror that the Guardian newspaper was born to give a voice to the voiceless.

The Guardian’s editorial policy seems to be raising  questions as it often seems to report facts without attempting to explain the importance of the issues for groups affected – like the current demonisation of people who have disabilites and claim welfare by the media, something that the Guardian should be doing more about.  How can it be critical of right-wing policies yet supportive of the Lib-Dems?

It’s also worth stressing that Peterloo is happening because people care enough about the Guardian, to want to try to make it better.

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Protected: Peterloo discussion 28/10/11 – 11/11/11

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CiF Peterloo Campaign Update

Peterloo Campaign latest Update 24/10/2011

We’d like to say thanks to all who are supporting the campaign and wearing the avatars – they have been noticed by those who needed to notice them and the more that join and continue to wear them the louder the voice we will have. If you’re looking for an avatar you’ll find them on the “c1nf Peterloo” menu under “Peterloo avatars”.

The latest response from Readers Editor/Mr Rusbridger is

” Before we can commit to an online debate of that kind we need to talk to colleagues who are heavily committed already. Either I or my colleague will respond as soon as we can” and in addition to wanting to know more about us “… raise some interesting issues”.

So a work in progress but not a definite no.

In the meantime there’s a new Peterloo campaign page available for anyone interested in getting up to speed or seeing how the campaign is progressing.

We are now moving into a new stage where we will be documenting concerns that we feel need to be bought to the editorial staff’s attention, past and present, and would be grateful for people to add their own concerns and examples of what they want to highlight too on the comment page which will all then be passed on. Ideas and suggestions would be more than welcome also.

The campaign is not that old and we have listened to all criticisms and hopefully are fine tuning those areas which were grey to avoid confusion in the future and to correct misinterpretations of what we are about.

Hopefully this will help….

“The Peterloo Avatar Campaign aims to continue to try and arrange an online debate between editorial staff and commenters about the Guardian’s editorial stance, reporting and moderation policy whilst in the meantime documenting and clearly communicating those ongoing concerns to staff members.”

We are not as some assume trying to make the Guardian more ‘left,’ whatever that means these days, or dictate what it should do or think we are simply asking for the opportunity to voice many readers concerns on various issues, directly to the editorial staff, whilst enabling everyone who wishes to put their views forward and have their say too.

Hope that explains things and provides an adequate update.


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Peterloo avatars update

The Pererloo campaign seems to have really taken off – a success due to the hands of many – hence the theme of ripples in the latest round of avatars above.

So I think it’s a good time to take stock of what we’ve achieved so far and where we’re going with this.

Firstly we identified one of the issues as bringing up the topic of the Guardian’s political direction, as this, almost ineveitably, seemed to involve moderation of comments and user accounts. As such it seemed logical that before we could start to bring up the issue of the Guardian’s politcs, we had to first ensure there could be an open and free environment in  which to discuss it.

Lightacandle contacted Liz Forgan, the Chair of the Scott Trust

Thank you for your email which has been forwarded to me as Chair of the Scott Trust.

I am afraid that you misunderstand the role of the Trust in respect of the editorial views and content of the Guardian. It is our job to safeguard the independence of the editor, not to intervene in any way in his editorial decisions. It is this which marks the Guardian out from most other journalistic enterprises and it is a discipline which we guard very strictly.

We attend to the underlying values of the paper and the company, to ensure that the ethical standards we set are being upheld. The leader line on any given issue is a matter for the editor and the paper’s attitude to the coalition is not something the Trust would ever discuss.

As you yourself illustrate, a wide range of opinion is available to readers of the Guardian both in the paper and on line and, though there will always be fierce argument among both staff and readers about all kinds of issues, the proper place for that to be aired is in Cif or through the Readers’ Editor.

Yours sincerely

Liz Forgan

The reply was helpful in highlighting the Guardian’s position on the role of Comment is Free and the Reader’s editor.

Then we broached the subject in CiF higlighting the contradictions in the way the moderators had been responding to  posters bringing up the political line the Guardian took on given subjects, effectively silencing the debate -it was a busy thread so I’ve linked in the key posts in chronological order:

Having cleared the way to freely discuss the issue of the political direction of the Guardian, we’ve since sent a letter as to Alan Rusbridger asking for an open debate about the issue of its  rightwards swing

Looking for the original Avatars?

How to use these

– right click on the image of your choice and save it to your computer
– got to your CiF profile click Edit Avatar (under your existing one)
– click on the browse button and in the area marked “Upload an avatar”
and navigate to the file you downloaded, select it and click “upload”

and that’s it – it won’t show up immediately but just be patient.

Want to make your own and get into the Peterloo avatar customiser’s gallery

I’ve knocked out a Photoshop pdf, where the different elements are in layers for easy customisation which you can get from here:

peterloo layers

note: sorry – this only works with photoshop I’m afraid, Gimp will load it as a flat layerless image, contact me through the form if you want a psd.

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