Saunders Unliked

A Vincent council candidate has been banned from posting comments on the council’s official Facebook site.

Perennial council critic Debbie Saunders, whose nom de plume was Bob Jones, was blocked after what council CEO John Giorgi claims was a, “series of negative comments (across a variety of matters on our Facebook page)”.

Unconcerned by claims he’s impeding on free speech, Mr Giorgi says the page, “aims to promote council offerings with a focus on positive, ‘social’ content that benefit[s] the community”.

Page rules state posts can be removed without notice, and “fans” are told to contact the council directly for serious matters.

Ms Saunders, who runs the Oxford Street cafe 50mL, was blocked after asking whether a man credited with taking a Facebook photo of mayor Alannah MacTiernan was the Anthony Minh Tran recently posted on the council’s website, convicted for soliciting a prostitute in Highgate.

Ms Saunders opposes the council’s “name and shame” campaign, describing it as a “mediaeval practice” that doesn’t solve the problem.

“I was highlighting that if the city is only going to publish names then they leave themselves open to defamation cases when those people of that same name suffer any negative consequences,” she wrote to councillors following her comment’s deletion and her blocking. I think it is grossly negligent to publish only a name, when countless others in Perth have the same name. Is it going to take a law suit for anything to be done?”

Cr Dudley Maier believes Ms Saunders has a point.

According to the electoral roll 277 people have the same first and last names in Vincent alone and 19 have identical first, middle and last names. “That’s why it’s so important to get the address where we can.”

by DAVID BELL

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