Blog Post Keeps Terror Suspect Story Offline To Avoid Problems With UK Law

People reading the New York Times online today aren’t getting the full edition — and not because they aren’t subscribing to TimesSelect. In an unusual move that highlights the difficulty of publishing material that may run counter to some local laws, opted on advice of counsel to withhold the online version of a detailed story about the evidence against the suspects arrested in the alleged terror plot unveiled earlier this month in England. The company also kept the story out of the British print edition of the IHT. At issue are British laws that prohibit publication of info deemed prejudicial to defendants.
Part of the story is visible in the daily scan of the NYT front page but it isn’t very legible; as far as I can tell, the note from the print edition explaining why the story can’t be read online “temporarily” isn’t online.
— There’s also the anomaly of people writing about the story on sites that can be viewed from the UK. See Slate, which reported on the gap in its Today’s Papers feature, for an example. Then again there’s the AP, which includes some details in its well-distributed story.
Laws based on local viewing may seem increasingly archaic in this age of instant near-global distribution but they’re still on the books. (via Romenesko)
Update: The story went online during the day but not in the UK. NYT: ”
Richard J. Meislin, the paper’s associate managing editor for Internet publishing, said the technological hurdle was surmounted by using some of The Times’s Web advertising technology. The paper could already discern the Internet address of users connecting to the site to deliver targeted marketing, and could therefore deliver targeted editorial content as well. That took several hours of programming. รข