Unpublishing or changing stories and photos
This policy states the function of Stars and Stripes’ online archive and the potential reasons for consideration of altering or removing content.
Stories published by Stars and Stripes are archived online and are a matter of public record just like the Stars and Stripes’ newspaper. Online content is searchable. Readers sometimes ask that content be altered or removed from the archive in its entirety.
As a general rule, Stars and Stripes will not alter or unpublish content except in extremely limited circumstances such as being verifiably inaccurate or libelous. However, in some cases, articles may deserve an update or further reporting may be necessary if details related to a story have since changed. Such examples are usually related to legal matters where information concerning the outcome of the matter involving individuals may not be known for many months after the article was published. Providing an addendum to the story or altering such stories is intended to improve clarity and add context.
Any decision to remove content deemed to be harmful to an individual must be weighed against the public’s right to know, the preservation of the historical record, and the reality that the article may be cached in search engines or on other websites, with or without our permission, where Stars and Stripes has no ability to change and will likely not disappear entirely from the Internet.
Instances in which Stars and Stripes will not alter content include letters to the editor, quotes from sources, or other information in published articles, editorials or columns that is accurate or cannot be proved inaccurate. If the information was reported accurately and gathered fairly, it is part of the public record and will not be altered.
In all cases, editors will note that an article has been altered or removed.