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Why Jim Hawkins’ Treatment Matters

By Dan Murphy

Jim Hawkins is a regionally well-known radio host on the BBC, based in Shropshire. He’s a fairly popular guy in his community, and clearly a broadcast pro (I listened to 10 minutes of his show from a few days ago. Show wasn’t for me, but he clearly knows his business). I suspect, like most people in his trade, he’s made a lot of charity appearances, attended events that are meaningful (horse races or holiday galas or whatever) to his local community, and done a bit to promote his show. More than most of his age and background, he’s also embraced social media (mostly Twitter) as a way to engage his audience. What this means from a Wikipedia perspective is that he’s a “public figure” who has generated sufficient “reliable sources” to justify writing a biography about him.

He’s also been unhappy about the presence of his biography on Wikipedia (the 5th hit on a Google search for “Jim Hawkins BBC”) for almost six years. Wikipedia’s response to him over all that time has been “Don’t like it? Tough.”

Wikipedia biography victim

The reason Mr. Hawkins’ Wikipedia problem is interesting is precisely because his experience has been so mundane. The horror stories of people defamed by Wikipedia are legion (the activities of Johann Hari are instructive. As “David R from meth productions,” he spent almost four years adding promotional material to his own biography, as well as defaming people he didn’t like, until he was uncovered thanks to efforts outside Wikipedia. Other editors have falsely reported people to be deceased, and still others edited articles to suggest people are serial killers.)


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