Lakbimanews English newspaper in Sri Lanka has a history of plagiarising blog content. It would copy text off blogs and use the blogger’s handle/name as the “article”‘s author – without every mentioning the blog’s URL. This made the article appear to be the work of one of the paper’s columnists writing under a pen name. Not content grabbed off the internet.
Naturally there was a major blow up in the Sri Lankan blogosphere when it the paper’s lack of integrity came to light. Theena has a good overview with plenty of supporting links.
I originally found this lack of proper attribution to be troubling given that it came from a major newspaper. The reaction for the paper’s editorial big wig to getting caught was both disappointing and funny – at the time.
Personally if they had bothered to ask I’d have happily let them. A small difference yes, but integrity is consistently proven by “small” acts. Not by pompous gestures.
I never bothered to find out if the paper had grabbed any of my earlier posts before this “incident”. Looks like it has. It had grabbed my post about Dr. Manique Gunesekara’ book The Post-colonial Identity of Sri Lankan English. My original post was titled “Sri Lankan English: A fascinating book I actually read” dated May 5th 2007. The plagiarised version is dated 24th June 2007. Seems like Manshark’s post on the Galle Literary festival is another one of the appears in amputated form as one the “articles” for that day.
The Lakbimanews paper clearly lost an opportunity to engage with readers via the medium of blogging -something the Daily mirror’s blog centre has done. Worse it lost its credibility among a group of people who would have happily and willingly written for it had the paper demonstrate some integrity.
Maybe the powers that be at Lakbimanews learned something from the process though I have my doubts. Sadly, there seems to be continuing skirmishes between a particular personality at the paper and Sri Lankan bloggers.
Which is sad but such are the choices of other. Personally I consider this sort of past behaviour water under the bridge (How’s that for a cliché? ). I wish it will do the right thing. Being I bit of a cynic I won’t hold my breath. 😉