EXPOSED! NightJack Blogger Richard Horton
Thousands of bloggers who operate behind the cloak of anonymity have no right to keep their identities secret, the High Court ruled yesterday.
In a landmark decision, Mr Justice Eady refused to grant an order to protect the anonymity of a police officer who is the author of the NightJack blog. The officer, Richard Horton, 45, a detective constable with Lancashire Constabulary, had sought an injunction to stop The Times from revealing his name.
In April Mr Horton was awarded the Orwell Prize for political writing, but the judges were unaware that he was using information about cases, some involving sex offences against children, that could be traced back to genuine prosecutions.
His blog, which gave a behind-the-scenes insight into frontline policing, included strong views on social and political issues.
The officer also criticized and ridiculed “a number of senior politicians” and advised members of the public under police investigation to “complain about every officer . . . show no respect to the legal system or anybody working in it”.
Some of the blog’s best-read sections, which on occasion attracted half a million readers a week, were anecdotes about cases on which Mr Horton had worked. The people and places were made anonymous and details changed, but they could still be traced back to real prosecutions.
In the first case dealing with the privacy of internet bloggers, the judge ruled that Mr Horton had no “reasonable expectation” to anonymity because “blogging is essentially a public rather than a private activity”.
The judge also said that even if the blogger could have claimed he had a right to anonymity, the judge would have ruled against him on public interest grounds.
FULL STORY HERE