Archived items are not removed
The Zoutpansberger does not remove content from its website after publication except in cases of severe ethical violations, such as if the story is found to be fabricated. Rather, stories with factual errors or needed clarifications will be corrected with a notice at the top detailing when the story was updated with corrections.
This policy is in place to avoid setting a precedent in which anyone who does not like something that was published can simply ask to have it taken down. The Zoutpansberger does not change history. If editors thought it was newsworthy enough to run in the paper or online, its value remains.
Right to be forgotten requests
The Zoutpansberger recognises that there are cases where search engines provide a skewed picture of history and reflect articles that are, in isolation, not a good indication of the character of an individual. Requests that such articles in our archives be marked not to be indexed by search engines, will be considered. When such requests are considered factors such as the time period that had elapsed, the incidents preceding the event and the nature of the article, will be considered.
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), in November 2014, published guidelines as to how such requests should be handled in the EU. Criteria to be used include the following:
A comprehensive interpretation of the ruling of the European Court can be found here:
While it is every individual’s right to submit a right-to-be-forgotten request to a search engine, the Zoutpansberger has a pre-emptive approach in that it will, in worthy cases, make efforts to indicate to search engines that such articles should not be indexed. It is important to take note of the fact that search engines are not obliged to contact website administrators when such requests for the removal of listings are received. The content, however, remains on the website and the prerogative to edit or remove such content remains that of the publisher.