Cook Islands News is re-opening its editorial columns to letters to the editor by writers using nom de plumes as opposed to their real names.
After much consideration, Cook Islands News has decided to
reinstate the policy of allowing nom de plumes on letters to the editor.
The newspaper has been bombarded with requests to review its
new policy of not publishing “unsigned” letters, implemented in 2019.
Editor Rashneel Kumar said the latest decision was not an
easy one, nor one they have taken lightly.
“Nom de plume opinion is one of the most popular and
controversial items in the newspaper. We have been criticised of doing an
‘extreme disservice’ to democracy and the wellbeing of this community by not
allowing nom de plume letters.
“There were numerous requests from our regular letter
writers to review this policy.
“After much deliberation and partly to acknowledge those who
have voiced their concern at the need to allow freedom of expression in the
form of criticism of people of power and influence, such as politicians and
bureaucrats, we have decided to again allow nom de plume names on letters to
“Fear of retribution and retaliation is very real in our
society and we accept that it can inhibit people from speaking out when they
want to criticise and challenge authorities.”
However, letter writers who wish to keep their identity
confidential will have to adhere to strict guidelines.
Offensive language and personal attacks will not be accepted
in any circumstances. The newspaper also requires writers to disclose any
personal or financial interest in the subject matter of their letters.
“We still require letter writers to include their full name,
address and phone number for authentication purposes, though not for
publication. Letters will be fact checked.”
The newspaper has also decided to resume its
popular Smoke Signals column.
Angie Samuela on 27/01/2021
If I write a letter to the Editor I will put my name on it