In 2008, the Toronto Star published an article online about a Toronto man who was charged with the sexual assault of a pre-teen girl. More than a year later, the charges were dropped. "Now, not surprisingly," writes Toronto Star public editor Kathy English, "The man wants the news of his arrest to disappear from the Internet."

In 2008, the Toronto Star published an article online about a Toronto man who was charged with the sexual assault of a pre-teen girl. More than a year later, the charges were dropped. "Now, not surprisingly," writes Toronto Star public editor Kathy English, "The man wants the news of his arrest to disappear from the Internet." But, when it comes to criminal charges, the Star has a policy not to unpublish.

Instead, writes English, the Star updates the original story.

Here's why, she adds:

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"The Star’s policy regarding unpublishing any of its content is rooted in the view that to erase the digital record of what has been published would diminish transparency and credibility with our readers. At the heart of Canadian justice is the principle of the open court. The fact that police laid charges of sexual assault against this man is a matter of public record — it is what happened. Erasing news of those charges won’t alter that truth."

English does add that while reporting on these particular charges was newsworthy, given the permanence of digital news and the responsibility to report on the outcome of any given charges, many believe there needs to be a higher threshold for the news value of charges.

"In assessing newsworthiness," she concludes, "Perhaps we need to consider: If charges aren’t important enough for follow-up reporting, are they significant enough to publish in the first place?"