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Right-to-reply website launches

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A website launches today which aims to offer "an impartial, web-based right-to-reply service".

Newscounter.com is run by a bunch of Tories, and Matthew Taylor - a former advisor to Tony Blair (so a bunch of Tories then - Ed).

The site will "provide an authoritative means of publishing a full response, alert relevant bloggers and other stakeholders to the full response, secure profile for the response via online search engine listing", and "provoke debate around the accuracy of the original coverage".

All this sounds admirable, but in the age of blogs and comments on stories is it a necessary or realistic business model?

Newscounter chief executive Matthew Cain said in the press release: "Misrepresentation in the media can have a huge impact on an organisation's brand and reputation. With the proliferation of online news outlets, the potential for damage as a result of misrepresentation is increasing."

But why adding another news outlet will solve this problem remains unclear.

Apart from straightforward scew-ups, which most publications are keen to correct as quickly as possible, correcting misrepresentation is far from simple. A quick browse of Wikipedia will make this clear.

Newscounter's non-executive directors include: Sir Stephen Sherbourne, former head of Thatcher's Political Office; Matthew Taylor, former chief adviser on political strategy to Tony Blair; and Nigel Clarke, one of three principal partners at political consultancy GJW, which was implicated in the Lobbygate or cash for access scandal.

The website launches in true old media style with a breakfast briefing in Soho's Groucho Club. ®

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