Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Twitter scores for free speech

Twitter scores again - and this time at the expense of media lawyers Carter Ruck. The bizarre attempt by this legal attack-dog to slap an injunction on the Guardian for trying to report "certain parliamentary proceedings" ended in ignominious failure within hours as the twitterati (horrible word)got on the case, did a couple of internet searches and came up with the answers: Labour MP Paul Farrelly, in the House of Commons, asking a question about the dumping of toxic waste on the Ivory Coast, by oil company Trafigura. Time taken: 42 minutes.

A victory for freedom of speech, definitely. A slap in the face for Carter Ruck and other lawyers who seem to be getting worryingly addicted to privacy injunctions and especially "super-injunctions", in which the media aren't even allowed to report the fact that they aren't allowed to print something. (What makes it even worse in this case was that it concerned a parliamentary question, asked by an elected representative in the House of Commons, under privilege).

But the most interesting part of this story was that it took Twitter at #trafigura to reveal the contents of the injunction and force Carter Ruck to retract. A further illustration of the futility of privacy and contempt of court laws in the internet age?

1 comment:

  1. He's the former Observer journalist, isn't he? odd that he should happen to table a PQ with information the Guardian particularly wanted to report. And would the Guardian want, say, private legal advice on their liability for a potentially defamatory statement being made available publicly? I don't think this one has been anything like as open and shut as it has been reported. Yes, Trafigura are evil bastards. But they have some rights.