The Irish Independent will no longer allow online comments because of Ireland’s “draconian libel awards system,” the Irish Times reported.
In a note at the bottom of its online articles, where the comments section normally would be, the Independent explained,
“INM has taken the decision to remove the commenting facility on its online platform Independent.ie to minimise the legal risk to our business that arises from Ireland’s draconian libel awards system.
“We continue to look forward to receiving comments through direct email contact or via social media, some of which may still be featured on the website Independent.ie.”
iMediaEthics has written to the Independent to ask when the decision was made and what, specifically, prompted it.
This summer, Al Jazeera ended its online comment section, explaining it was “hijacked by users hiding behind pseudonyms spewing vitriol, bigotry, racism and sectarianism.”
MSN ended its online comments in July after finding the section often produced “offensive and abusive posts.” So did the Bozeman Chronicle in Montana. And in August, NPR said it wouldn’t be reinstating its online comments section.