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Media online archives – a source for historical research or a threat to privacy?

The digital revolution brought about a change for media archives, from limited accessibility and obscurity of paper publications to long-term and wide accessibility of online information. It is a great opportunity for media organizations which can now reach more readers, anywhere in the world and at any time, not only with news, but also with their historical content. At the same time, the wide accessibility of media online archives may be a curse for those who have been the subject of news which they find inaccurate, defamatory, outdated, irrelevant or disclosing intimate facts about their lives.

In the course of the work of the “Observatory of Media Freedom in Poland,” run by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, we have observed an increasing pressure on media practitioners to “unpublish” archival content available on the Internet. Such requests were often not justified.

Authors: Dorota Głowacka, Joanna Smętek, Zuzanna Warso

Date of publication: 2016

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