15 April 2010

Rise of the superinjunction: libel, privacy and press freedom under fire in the UK

The Frontline Club in London hosted a debate on the use of super-injunctions last night with Guardian investigations editor David Leigh, Carter-Ruck partner Nigel Tait, science writer Simon Singh and David Hooper, a media law specialist and partner at Reynolds Porter Chamberlain.



«It's one of the world's oldest surviving democracies, but just how free is the British media? Law firms can and do serve newsdesks with so-called superinjunctions banning all mention of their client or of the writ itself.

Lawyers acting for footballer John Terry and oil trader Trafigura [Carter Ruck] both tried this tactic to stop unfavourable coverage - only for the facts to eventually trickle into the public domain.

Are these strong-arm tactics a threat to press freedom? Or simply an inevtiable response to the irresponsible, scandal-obsessed British newspapers? And more importantly, how can lawyers and judges expect to keep allegations secret when it only takes one person and a broadband connection to publish them around the world in seconds.»

from Frontline Club 

Related
MPs' verdict on News of the World phone-hacking scandal: Amnesia, obfuscation and hush money
Carter Ruck and Trafigura: Dirty Tricks and Toxic Waste in the Ivory Coast
Trafigura and the Minton Report: 'Super injunction' was lifted after the horse had bolted
The Day Twitter Destroyed a Gagging Order
Note to Trafigura/Carter Ruck: you can’t suppress Twitter


HoC Culture, Media and Sport Committee - Second Report on Press standards, privacy and libel
The McCanns' Injunction: Quotes by the Defence Lawyers
The Temporary Injunction: Granted on September 9, 2009
McCann couple demands books to be fully destroyed
To forbid or not to forbid books is still a question
The Temporary Injunction: Granted on September 9, 2009
McCanns' pain doesn't justify censorship effort
Kate and Gerry McCann Threaten to Sue Bloggers
A Censurable Censure

Related Sites on Media, Press & Citizen Freedom of Speech
Index on Censorship
Article 19
Libel Reform Campaign
Tabloid Watch
UK Freedom of Information Blog
Inform Blog
Private Eye
Don't Get Fooled Again
Bad Science [Ben Goldacre's blog]
Political Scrapbook

29 comments:

  1. Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more slaves. -- D.H. Lawrence

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  2. A propos des journaux et de leur couverture des événements : il est intéressant de voir la différence de traitement dans les médias britanniques ( et allemands)et français de la dernière rumeur sur une supposée liaison entre Carla Bruni et B.Biolay ( et Sarkozy/Jouanaud) . Il n'a a eu aucune mention de cela dans les journaux français alors que cela faisait la une des journaux étrangers, jusqu'au moment où c'est l'entourage du président qui a dit que la rumeur était un complot et que les responsables seraient poursuivis, alors qu'on ne parlait déjà plus ailleurs de cela.Il a fallu, après coup, une intervention de C.Bruni et de Sarkozy pour dire que tout cela n'avait aucune vérité/importance et qu'il n'y aurait pas de suites judiciaires de leur part. Et alors que presque personne n'était au courant de la rumeur,elle s'est trouvée propulsée à la première page des journaux par la réaction même du chef de l'Etat (bien qu'il s'en défende).La rumeur était partie d'un blog hébergé par un journal du net et avait été reprise par les médias étrangers.Et le blogueur et le rédacteur du journal ont été sanctionnés.
    Réflexions à ce sujet : les médias français n'en ont pas parlé, pas tellement parce qu'il n'y avait pas de sources fiables ( ?), mais parce que cela concerne la vie privée qui est protégée par des lois assez strictes en France ( et je pense que les Français sont d'accord avec cela).L'objection majeure étant que lorsque le Président a fait, très complaisamment, la une des magazines lorsqu'il arborait la Belle comme un trophée de chasse,pour immortaliser leur couple parfait, il s'agissait aussi de sa vie privée et il était demandeur.On ne joue pas impunément sur les deux tableaux et lorsqu'on a invité sans retenue les médias à sa table, il n'est pas étonnant qu'ils se réinvitent quand il y a à manger.

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  3. ' TORY LINKS TO MURDHOCH UNDER SCRUTINY AFTER OFCOM RULING- labour points to deal on media policy after THE SUN Tabloid switched its allegiance to the Conservatives'

    MUSCAT DAILY- paper edition

    By Torin Douglas
    (BBC news service, Distributed By New York Times Syndicate)

    'How close is the Conservative party to the murdoch media empire?
    the question has been brought into sharp focus by Ofcom's long-awaited Pay Tv report, which has ordered BSkyB to cut its charges for Sky Sports.
    Last summer, as the media regulator gathered evidence for its Pay-TV review, Consevative leader David cameron said that Ofcom 'as we know it, would cease to exist' if his party came into power.
    'Give Ofcom, or give a new body, the technical function of handing out the licences and regulating, lightly, the content that's on the screens. But it shouldn't be making policy, it shouldn't have its own communications department', said cameron.
    'The Head of Ofcom is paid almost half a million pounds. We could slim this body down a huge amount and save a lot of money for the taxpayer', he added.

    BBC'S FUTURE
    Accusations- hotly denied by the Tories- have been made that Conservative media policy is in effect written by Rupert Murdoch and his son James- the chairman of BSkyB, chief executive of the Sun's owners News International, and not a fan of Ofcom.
    labour claimed there'd been a deal onmedia policy after the Sun newspaper switched its allegiance to the Conservatives.
    A few weeks after Cameron's comments, James Murdoch launched an outspoken attack on the BBC.
    Then shadow culturesecretary Jeremy Hunt caused more alarm when he said the Conservatives would replace the BBC Trust if they came to power, and were considering whether to 'rip up' the BBC charter.
    He's since said they'd let the charter run its course, to ensure the BBC's independence - but would the Tories allow Ofcom's ruling against Sky to stand?
    Culture Secretary Ben Brashaw said governments should not interfere with regulators.
    'I think that's a principle that matters greatly and I'm worried that the Conservatives have variously said they would abolish Ofcom, they would reduce its powers, and since this report, there's been a deafening silence from the Conservatives about what they would do'.
    So I asked Jeremy Hunt, the Tories culture spokesman, exactly what they would do about the Ofcom ruling?
    'We are absolutely clear that these kinds of matters are amatter for regulators, not for politicians,' he told me.
    ' Where you have competition issues like ( the Ofcom ruling0, they are obviously highly sensitive and it's incredibly important that they are made by people who can't in any way be influenced or leaned on.'
    ' So that is one of the categories of decision that we have said must be made by an independent regulator and not by politicians'.

    MINISTERIAL CONTROL
    And yet David cameron has said Ofcom would be cut back, if Ofcom even exists in future. What did he mean by that and what is the policy?
    ' We feel that people elect governments and ministers to make the decisions on big policy issues. So we've said we want the policy-making functions like quangos like Ofcom and the Arts council to be returned to ministers. For matters of policy we think it should be ministers that make the decision but for competition issues it's obviously very important it should be done at arms' length from politicians'.
    But some people say the Tories are in hock to Rupert Murdoch - The Sun has come out in favour of the Conservatives - that their media policy is being written by Rupert and James Murdoch. (CONT)

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  4. TORY LINKS TO MURDOCH UNDER SCRUTINY.... ( Cont)

    ' It's absolute nonsense', said Hunt. 'There is a great conspiracy theory that's been particularly peddled in THE GUARDIAN but I think you just have to look at the whole record. Eighteen months ago D. Cameron wrote an article in the SUN of all places, defending the principle of the licence fee. This is not someone who is trying to suck up the Murdochs'.
    ' If you remember, James Murdoch's Mc Taggart Lecture in Edinburgh was explicitly criticising the existence of the licence fee. So there are some things we agree with them on, and some things we disagree with them on'.
    Hunt accuses Labour of sour grapes at losing the Murdoch's support.
    As for BBC, though he and D. Cameron insist they're great fans of the Corporation, he says they'll expect it to take a much tighter grip on the purse strings, if they come to power.

    IS THIS A BIG WAR BETWEEN TORIES AND LABOURS ABOUT CONTROLING THE MEDIA? WHAT IS THE RULE OF MITCHELL- SUN- MURDOCH- MCCANN'S?
    THAT MEANS MCCANN'S LOST THE SUPPORT OF BROWN AND HAVE TO STICK AT CAMERON WITH THEIR SUPORTIVE NEWSPAPER, THE SUN?

    WHAT ALL THIS POLITICIANS AND MEDIA GUYS WILL DO TO BRING JUSTICE TO MADELEINE, A LITTLE GIRL COMPLETELY LOST AND NOT REMEMBERED BY ANY OF THEM? SILENCING FACTS AND FABRICATING NEWS TO SUIT MCCANN'S, MITCHELL AND RUCKED AGENDA WILL NOT HELP ANY CHILD. WILL MADELEINE BE AN ISSUE FOR A OPEN DISCUSSION IN UK BEFORE MAY 6? The world will watch closely to see how works Freedman and democracy in one of the claimed old democracies in Europe.

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  5. The UK media take the public for utter fools, but through sites like this we are more informed then ever in our history. In the UK if a person is missing for 7 years they are presumed dead, and a certificate of death obtained, how long is it in Portugal, also if the situation remains the same in this case, would the certificate, be issued in Portugal for Madelaine or the UK.
    Please remember the dead of the Hillsbrough disaster today in your prayers 21 years another injustice and mass cover up.

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  6. The McCanns use the media as and when it pleases them to do so. They want it both ways, to make money with their publicity stunts and then to shut people up who actually don't believe a word they say; more especially Goncalo Amaral who, having been the chief investigator, would know more than anyone else the truth of what happened to Madeleine, apart from the parents of course! Why would they want to silence him unless they were less than innocent parents? He is trying to find the truth and justice for Madeleine which is more than can be said of their fair weather friends!

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  7. I wish people would stop shouting!

    Good points are lost - I dont like the uppercase so dont read them!

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  8. James Murdoch is also a non-executive Director at Glaxo-Smith-Kline, as is Crispin Davis the owner until last year of Elsevier, publishers of the medical journal The Lancet. No doubt rewards for services rendered.

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  9. Cripin Davis is not the owner of Reed-Elsevier, he is the CEO. Big difference. Also, Reed Elsevier publish most of the world's leading medical journals. I think you make links where there are none.

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  10. 1hr 17m 'recklessly defamed the McCanns'.

    How, specifically?

    As usual, no-one says a word.

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  11. I also don't like comments in the uppercase I also don't bother reading them, it spoils what they are trying to say.

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  12. For the first time. UK candidates will face TV debats. Will Uk Have a journalist with B.... to ask some pertinent questions about what hapenned to Madeleine, or the issue will be a Tabu. like in Portugal?

    I hope Carter Ruck start falling down, same as some Lawyers offices in portugal. Judice, a Lawyer which always I saw as a guy who wants to atract the Mccann's for his office is falling down with Tagus Park scandal. Carter-Ruck, YOUR DECADENT TIME WILL BE COMING. NOW PEOPLE OPEN THEIR EYES AND DON'T TOLERATE SOME DICTATORSHIPS.IT IS JUST A QUESTION OF TIME and the public show already that they have pacience to wait.

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  13. Sam @ 10,

    ' defamed the Mccann's'???.... HOW??

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  14. BCA have dropped the libel case against Dr Simon Singh. Some good news in my in-box today. Fair comment is now allowed as a defence. Watch out McCanns and Co!

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  15. watched the video.
    All this discussion?
    Does it ever change anything?
    everything seems about money as the saying goes
    justice for those that can afford it!
    or
    as in the mccann case .......no justice if you can afford it!

    The truth is that alot of these people who attend such debates, are their to show their abilities to debate, almost like a way to raise their profiles...yes all are really of the same mold on opposite sides so to speak.

    Surely the ultimate aim should be to create a fair system for all regardless of social standing, the system should be about seeking the truth and then obtaining justice...fullstop.
    Laws should be passed that are able to be applied consistently and fairly to everyone. this i believe to be the only way to help create a fair society ...and from this respect would flow and with time the parameters would be set for a fair society with good values.
    Maybe i live in a dream world but that is a better one than we have at present.
    The sense of injustice i feel taking place in the world today on many fronts, leaves me feeling angry and i know i am not alone.
    I am afraid to say things need to get worse before better.....but rest assure that the human spirit can not be oppressed and have faith that truth and justice prevails in the end.

    mojo

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  16. http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Madeleine-McCann-Sky-News-Timeline-Of-Investigation/Interactive-Flash-Module/200807315047922?lpos=Home_Second_Feature_Teaser_Region_0&lid=FLASH_15047922_Madeleine_McCann%3A_Sky_News_Timeline_Of_Investigation


    For anyone who wants a reminder of events. Click in the bottom left corner and work your way up to top, down next column, up next etc.

    Its good to listen carefully again to Portugal telling us they did investigate the millions of calls they got.

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  17. Well done Simon Singh, and it took two years of your life

    Fair comment is now a defence in England, and then we have a backward step.

    Robert Green has been re-arrested by the Warrington police and is now in the hands of the Grampion police. His crime!!. Speaking out on behalf of Hollie Greig and her mother Anne. Hollie has Downs syndrome and has been abused over many years by her father and a group of perverts in Scotland.

    Hollie's Uncle accidentally found out about the abuse, and before he could expose the perverts he was brutally murdered, and the murder has been covered up.

    To inquire if Robert is safe and not being ill treated whilst in the hands of the Grampian polce force. I telephoned them on this number 01224 306436 and was told "We cannot confirm or deny who we have in custody"

    An Englishman

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  18. Anon 17

    What a terrible case this is.

    What a disgraceful cover up, so handy when they have friends in high places.

    And the poor uncle dead because he discovered what was gong on.

    Robert is a very brave man. What do people have to do nowadays to find justice when those in positions of power can silence truth.

    What an uphill battle it is, but may there be success in bringing those responsible to justice.

    In the McCann case also.

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  19. THE NET IS CLOSING IN ON THE ONES IN HIGH PLACES AND THEY WHO ARE BEEN PROTECTED.!!!
    IVE SAID ON LOTS OF OCCASSIONS, THESE PEOPLE IN POWER DO NOT STAY IN POWER FOREVER.

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  20. Anon 7
    Then dont bother reading on most forums regarding Maddy then, as that is how a lot of posters feel.

    ANGER!!!!

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  21. 13 - that is what is said @ 1hr 17m - I am asking the same question.

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  22. Crumbs and crikey! That 'distinguished panellist' at 1hr 17m was a bit OTT, eh? - Kate and Gerry 'defamed . . .mercilessly, ruthlessly and recklessly' by the press?

    But fortunately for the Rothley liars, Carter Ruck were at hand to sort it! You really couldn't make it up!

    Distinguished Panellist, had the abduction fantasy, promulgated by saints Kate and Gerry, not been so soundly discredited by the official police investigation, I could probably understand your reasoning. Had the McCanns not invented a break-in scenario at flat 5a, I could probably understand your reasoning. Had they not withheld phone/bank/medical records requested by the police, I could probaly understand your reasoning. I could go on.

    What's worrying is that no-one in that conference bothered to pick up on the anomaly of crime suspects refusing to co-operate with the police investigation whilst employing the services of extremely expensive libel lawyers in order to silence dissenting voices. Which is strange as it may have represented a kind of check-mate moment.

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  23. @9
    Being the CEO of publishers of medical journals (until a year ago) whilst at the same time serving on the BOD of a pharmaceutical company is what is known as a conflict of interest, (I won't mention the other one related to his brother, the judge Nigel Davis). But as someone once put it "the ruling elite remains surprisingly small".

    The mccanns probably believe that they are part of that elite, seeing as they have actually inspired the European Parliament's "written declaration on emergency cooperation in recovering missing children". Is this why there is all this carry on, why politicians are involved as they will do anything to save their reputations, having used an innocent child to influence votes and legislation on a European scale? Is everything else just smoke and mirrors, pointing the finger in all directions to confuse the issue?

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  24. I think what worries me most beyond what really happened to Madeleine is the effect this is having on reputations- I dont mean the PJ,Amaral or even Bennet ect -because I believe most people believe in justice and protecting children and when the facts are discussed its evident that is what all the people who question the McCanns are motivated by- rather I mean the reputation of British police of our legal processes our cabinet (and others in opposition) and our media.

    What is it about the McCanns that all these people who argue and try to spin the obvious facts feel is worth risking such a lot for?Does it not worry the cabinet that they are being looked at as suspicous and that elements of the 'press' like "truthseeker" are presenting them and our whole system as rife with peadophiles? That our legal and lawful processes are deemed to be re-entering the dark ages or our press to be seen as lacking moral fibre?

    What could be worse than all the suspicions their are about them and when they come home to roost how long will it take to undo the damage? They seem to be kidding themselves that they have the situation battened down but what they really have is the lid too tightly on a pressure cooker - when that lid blows -as it will- what effect will the contents have on those that have manipulated the situation?

    The expenses scandal was bad but it could have been worse; this certainly promises to be. When will they get to the only sensible conclusion that only the McCanns prosecution by the PJ and that alone can end this awful chain of events? Whether they are prosecuted for abandonment or other charges that must be the decision of the Portuguese alone as anything else now would be seen as highly suspicious and therefore unacceptable/illegal. The McCann PR has insured that this is the only option its slurs on the Portuguese people, police and justice system have made their prosecution a necessity as has their lack of cooperation.

    It doesnt matter what you say or do Gerry only you and your wife are the ones securely in the frame and until the PJ are cooperated with and satisfied you will never be cleared - you, Kate or your friends. As that horrible saying says you did the crime now do the time.

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  25. I only got up to 35mins, they had mentioned bloggers 3-4 times.

    HA HA! WE REALLY GET UP THEIR NOSES DONT WE!!!

    George,UK..... Non Brown Voter

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  26. Then.... First debate, NOTHING ABOUT MADELEINE OR THE FRAUDULENT FUND.

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  27. BE Leader was interviewed By Judite de Sousa yesterday. Again a lot of issues regarding how justice works in Portugal. THE FREEPORT, FACE OCULTA, THE SUBMARINES, BLA, BLA, NOTHING REGARDING MADELEINE AND THE MCCANN'S. The power and the Lobbies of the lawyers in the all parliament made that issue a TABU. A shame.... all this politicians did not deserve any respect from the electors.

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  28. Halligen's extradition hearing- Operation Ore hearing against Gamble. What do they have in common? Both will be postponed until after the election. Ore hearing date to be announced on 28th of April.Halligen? Anyone's guess at the moment.

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  29. I think you maybe have been taken in by the Hollie Greig case...Here is a link from a thread in a forum from someone who once was an avid supporter of Ann and Robert but uncovered a lot of information that shows they are lying. However it seems that anyone who questions Ann and Robert are immediately accused themselves of being paedophiles. Apparently the whole saga began when Ann was trying to get her hands on money from her brothers estate, notably it was the people involved in that debacle, the lawyer, accountant, judge etc who were first accused and the list has just got longer and longer the more people who question Ann's story.

    The poster whose info you should read is Justyc http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread720999/pg1

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