The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance has asked media companies to clarify their online policies following the sacking of a Brisbane sub-editor for comments made in a personal blog.

The association indicates that to its knowledge, it is the first case in Australia of a journalist losing their job for personal opinions expressed in an online forum.

According to a story that appeared in The Australian, the sub-editor was employed as a casual by News Central, which has a contract to sub-edit the Brisbane mastheads The Courier-Mail and The Sunday Mail, and blogs under the pseudonym ‘Dr Zen’.

“News organisations need to work out where they stand on social media (such as) blogs, Twitter and Facebook, and they need to be very clear to their staff on what they can and can’t do. It needs to be negotiated with their staff, as well. I can’t help thinking that letting this blogger go may have been a bit harsh on the part of The Courier-Mail. A warning might have been more appropriate,” explained MEAA spokesman Jonathan Este.