Robert Peston among journalists to see first consequences of European 'right to be forgotten' ruling

Journalists including the BBC's economics editor Robert Peston have begun to receive notifications from Google that stories they have written have been removed from search results as the 'right to be forgotten' starts to take effect.

Google: Opposed the European Court of Justice ruling
Google: Opposed the European Court of Justice ruling

A landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice in May said Google must delete "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant" data from European search results if a member of the public requests it.

Since the ruling, which it opposed, Google has received 50,000 such requests from members of the public.

Among the articles affected was one written by Peston, who received notice from Google yesterday informing him that a blog post he wrote had been removed from search results.

Peston said his blog mentioned Stan O’Neal, the former boss of the investment bank Merrill Lynch, which had to be rescued from collapse during the recent recession.

Peston, who last month described PR professionals as "professional bullshitters" during a lecture on journalism, said the move confirmed the fears of many journalists that the 'right to be forgotten' ruling will be abused to suppress legitimate journalism that is in the public interest.

Peston wrote yesterday: "Many people would argue that it is highly relevant for the track record, good or bad, of a business leader to remain on the public record – especially someone widely seen as having played an important role in the worst financial crisis in living memory."

In May, Huntsworth Group chief executive Lord Chadlington described the ruling as "unbelievable and strange".

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