Media lawyers Carter-Ruck felt the wrath of Twitter users once again as a 'flash mob' descended on their Central London office yesterday.
By Rory Crew
The symbolically gagged protesters were opposing Carter Ruck's injuntion against the Guardian. Acting on behalf of commodity traders Trafigura, the lawyers had attempted to stop the press a reporting parliamentary question asking about an injunction banning publication of the Minton report which relates to the alleged dumping of toxic waste in Ivory Coast.
The injunction was partially lifted on Wednesday to allow reporting of the question after it was widely flouted by users of the Twitter social networking site.
Richard Wilson, 34, author of, Don’t Get Fooled Again, set-up a Tweetvite uring some of the Twitterers to make their protest in person at the Law firm's offices.
Although only half of the promised 25 protesters turned up police were on hand in case of bigger crowds. The police stressed they were there to facilitate the demo and to ensure no obstruction was caused.
The small crowd was largely unnoticed until a car carrying a mobile stereo system added some entertainment to the proceedings. A group calling themselves the suburban pirates circled Carter Ruck's offices, calling for greater freedom of speech over a PA system. Their vintage pick-up truck, emblazoned with a reggae flag was ignored by the police but it was discovered it had been stopped en route to the protest and allowed to continue.
A member of the web-based anti-Scientology group, Anon, said he felt that Carter Ruck's injunction was symptomatic of the suppression of the media that has been used by companies and individuals to censor adverse publicity. He stressed he wasn’t a spokesman but feared reprisals, taking care to hide his face a mask from the film V for Vendetta.
in Press Gazzette
Read as well: Carter-Ruck in new move to stop debate in parliament
«Farrelly said: "Carter-Ruck's manoeuvres this week, were it not so serious, would be tantamount to high farce. It is important MPs should not be prevented from going ahead with debates next week."
The prominent media lawyer Mark Stephens said: "This sort of assault on democratic privileges is what you would expect to see in a banana republic."»
Minton report at Wikileaks: Trafigura toxic dumping along the Ivory Coast broke EU regulations, 14 Sep 2006
«Updated October 15, 2009: The "Minton report" exposes a toxic waste dumping incident which hospitalized thousands. The UK media has been suppressed from referencing the report and its contents since a secret gag order was issued against it on September 11, 2009. The report was commissioned trhough Waterson & Hicks, a UK law firm, possibly to claim client-attorney privilege should it leak. Client and dump is "Trafigura", a giant multi-national oil and commodity trader. The report assesses a toxic dumping incident involving Trafigura and the Ivory Coast—possibly most culpable mass contamination incident since Bhopal. The UK media is currently unable to mention the URL "http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Minton" or anything else that would direct people towards the report.»
Listen to Prime Minister Questions podcast: Wednesday 14 October 2009 at 24:17 minutes
Take Action! Sign the petition: Freedom of Expression on the Madeleine McCann Case
«We refer to the high profile case of Madeleine McCann.
We have heard the McCanns side of the story and its variations through the UK press and media many many times. There are thousands of people who question the validity of these press reports and would would like to hear the other side of the story, that being the version told by Gonçalo Amaral, the investigating officer in the case, and the Policia Judiciaria.
Gonçalo Amaral`s side of the story is available in his book "The Truth of the Lie", and can also be viewed in his documentary where he claims to dis-prove the McCanns version of events.
We, as members of the public are entitled to hear from Mr Amaral, we are entitled to the facts of this case and we are entitled to draw our own conclusions from the evidence that stands.
We also want to hear from the Madeleine Foundation. We want access to the book "60 Reasons to suggest that there was no abduction" by Tony Bennett.
We are human beings with human rights, one of those rights being the freedom of expression.
We feel that the firm of lawyers namely Carter Ruck have overstepped the mark and taken away our rights as members of the public.
We therefore demand that:
Carter Ruck remove any injunction and refrain from creating any further injuctions against any person including Gonçalo Amaral and the Madeleine Foundation, to speak out against the parents or anyone else connected with the Madeleine McCann case unless they can prove that anything that has been said is false, libelous or defamatory.
We want to hear from Gonçalo Amaral in the United Kingdom.
We want the option to purchase the book "The Truth of the Lie".
Gonçalo Amaral must be allowed to publish this book (which is based on the facts of the case as already published in the original police files), in the United Kingdom.
WE WANT THIS BOOK!!!
We want to see the Documentary of "The Truth of the Lie" by Goncalo Amaral in the United Kingdom.
We want the Madeleine Foundation website re-instated
We want the book "60 Reasons to suggest that there was no abduction" by Tony Bennett back on sale.
We want Carter Ruck to stop Gagging those who are seeking to find out what happened to a little 3 year old girl and let us get on the task that the British Government failed to do.»