When you really want to ask a higher authority for help, there are few more exalted avenues for an appeal than the Queen of England. The Guardian reports that seven global journalism organizations have written to urge her not to sign the proposed royal charter that would establish a regulatory regime for the British press. The signatories describe the charter as "toxic" and as camouflage for "repressive" press controls and say it will chill journalistic freedom of expression. The final draft of the charter is due to be submitted to the privy council next week, then is scheduled under the legal process to be signed by the Queen.
Meanwhile, several British press organizations have moved swiftly to signal how they will implement an alternative to the royal charter: a press regulatory body that will be operational some time in 2014. The Independent says the organizations have identified the selection process for panel members in what it describes as the toughest regulatory entity anywhere in the world.
Maria Konnikova, an author and psychology PhD writing for The New Yorker, reviews the science behind online comments and the particular impact of anonymity. She concludes that the suppression of online comments simply shifts those who misbehave to other venues. "Whether online, on the phone, by telegraph, or in person, we are governed by the same basic principles. The medium may change, but people do not," she concludes. "The question instead is whether the outliers, the trolls and the flamers, will hold outsized influence—and the answer seems to be that, even protected by the shade of anonymity, a dog will often make himself known with a stray, accidental bark. Then, hopefully, he will be treated accordingly."
U.S. advertising regulators are taking notice that sponsored content, also known as native advertising, has the potential to mislead consumers. In recent months the National Advertising Division, an investigative unit of the Advertising Self-Regulating Council, has examined two case and ruled in one that an advertiser need to modify practices. The New York Times reports the effort is one more area in which sponsored content is under scrutiny as it develops and helps digital outlets strengthen their business models.