A Croatian classical pianist has demanded that a negative review of one of his concerts be removed from Google, under the European Union's 'right to be forgotten' law.
Dejan Lazic claims that the review has tarnished his reputation since its publication in the Washington Post on 6 December 2010, as it is the second result on Google when you search his name, the first being his official website.
The title, 'Sparks but no flame', leaves the reader under no illusion as to the tone of the review, which begins with the word 'grandiloquence' – another word for pretentiousness.
Lazic wrote to the newspaper last Thursday, asking for the review to be permanently deleted from the internet. It is the first removal request the Washington Post has received since the EU ruling back in May.
Washington Post says ruling could be misused
In a response article on Friday morning, the newspaper voiced concerns over public figures such as artists and politicians having control over what gets published about them online. It also labelled Lazic's request as "misdirected", arguing that the ruling applies to search engines and not publishers themselves.
"Lazic (and to some extent, the European court) seem to believe that the individual has the power to determine what is true about himself, as mediated by the search engines that process his complaints. Such an attitude torpedoes the very foundation of arts criticism and essentially invalidates the primary function of journalism."
Anne Midgette, the critic who wrote the 2010 review of Lazic's concert, commented: "I can’t imagine that journalism would have to abide by such strictures. Once something is in a paper, it’s a matter of public record, and then it’s on the record for better or worse; isn’t that so?"