May 19, 2013

Comments on fixing stories

We haven't invited readers' views on the latest spot-fixing scandal because of libel issues

Ever since the arrest of three Rajasthan Royals players early on Thursday morning, ESPNcricinfo has covered the story following a few guidelines: Accuracy, fairness, and mindful of libel laws.

This means that when we are reporting on the case itself, we report only what is officially disclosed. We feel we have managed that so far, despite obvious difficulties and disadvantages.

This policy has also been extended to our story comments - we are bound to follow the strict libel laws that exist not just in India but in various other countries including the UK and the US. It is standard practice for us to disable comments on sensitive stories - especially those that deal with corruption - to eliminate the risk of libelous comments being published.

We will enable comments on selected stories going forward but these comments will be subject to the same standards of scrutiny as any story on our site. We will not be publishing comments that make allegations, draw inferences, or impute anything beyond the facts and we will always, in this matter, err on the side of caution. We would ask you to comment on the merits of the story itself, not on the merits of the case or the investigation.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • D on May 22, 2013, 7:11 GMT

    I agree with the other posters here, Sambit. You already have a brigade of over-zealous screeners who take offense at funny, generally malice-free comments and refuse to publish them. And this is why I don't think your point is valid: if anyone were to even slightly stray from what your hypersensitive doorkeepers think is the right content/tone, they'd delete the comment right away.

  • Dummy4 on May 20, 2013, 18:00 GMT

    I noticed two changes from last night. (1) This particular articles is no longer accessible from front page. It is not longer there in any of the IPL fixing stories despite the fact that this was the most read and commented on article (see the links on the right). (2) ciricinfo has finally realized their mistake and have enabled comments on fixing stories. But of course the stories are old now. I hope cricinfo handles reporting of events like this little bit better and applies the same criteria across all such stories.

  • John on May 20, 2013, 6:43 GMT

    Mr Bal, you will note a thread running through the comments which indicate a suspicion from a significant block of your readers that Cricinfo is soft in its handling of the BCCI and Mr Srinivasan. You lay yourself open to the charge of Indian bias and it would assist your credibility to categorically deny such a charge. A tough uncompromising editorial denouncing conflict of interest, IPL strategic time outs, the three times the Captains had to vote for the ICC player rep on the ICC a cricket Committee and the failure of India to accept DRS would greatly enhance the professional reputation of Cricinfo.

  • Mahbubur on May 20, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    A bit frustrated with cricinfo. I personally feel it like blocking the readers thoughts. One of main reasons people read online news and articles just because they can express their opinion on the event, incident and the articles.

  • Mumraiz on May 20, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    Totally agree with Mian Irfan:

    WOW what a greatness :)

    When Pakistani players were involved, every one was allowed to comment. And now its a matter to integrity of the comments.

    Brave for maintaining double standards.

  • Guru on May 20, 2013, 4:29 GMT

    Sambit, cricinfo has excellent people who serve the cricket fans with distinction. You yourself provide analysis of the highest standard. I sincerely hope cricinfo would continue to maintain those high journalistic standards. I hope you do realize that if someone were to dig through all the articles and comments posted on cricinfo ever, they are bound to find material for libel. So why this sudden concern? As fellow readers asked, was this caution employed when the trio from Pakistan were implicated in England? If not why? If indeed such measures as disabling comments were employed back then, please say so in a follow up article. Much of my faith in cricinfo will depend on that. Hope you do publish my comment. Thanks!

  • Dummy4 on May 20, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    I was sure upset with cricinfo for not allowing comments on match fixing stories. But the reason the editor is giving here actually insults the intelligence of cricinfo readers. How on earth, cricinfo can be held liable for it's readers comments? If a site could be sued for what the users of the site are writing, then yahoo, google, facebook, blog hosting sites etc would be sued every second. I understand cricinfo moderating the comments to make sure that the comments follow decency guidelines but getting sued for user comments? And even if we assume for a minute that it is true, then why disable comments for just the ipl betting scandal related articles? Why can't someone write such comments on other articles and even match reports? Lastly, the cricinfo did not follow any such policies for other controversies including betting scandal involving Pakistani crickters. Isn't the real reason to avoid upsetting BCCI?

  • Manohar on May 20, 2013, 4:08 GMT

    For me Cricinfo is always been source of cricket news and one of three websites I check religiously every morning and I respect all contributors and editors.

    I sincerely think we should think twice before we vent our anger on players. Let's wait and see what comes out of the investigation before we call names and raise pitch forks.

    One thing though this whole episode really screwed up my mind and whenever I see something out of ordinary happens on the field I started looking for whether the bowler has his towel tucked into trouser or not. It's silly but things like these really spoil the genuineness of future matches too sad but that is the reality we live in.

  • Darshil on May 20, 2013, 3:35 GMT

    Cant cricinfo comments be moderated and made like Facebook for example. It would be much easier to like the comments and reply back to it.

  • Dummy4 on May 20, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    this is hogwash ... allows comment on every news article and every literate person knows the difference between the news (with cricinfo as the source) and the views of individual viewers (for which the website cannot be held responsible). cricinfo can always delete offending and unsavory remarks.

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