Monday, May 23, 2011
Giles Coren just cannot keep his mouth shut
Kabooooosh! Another alarming headline!
The media has its teeth around the gagging order debacle and is running away faster than we can keep up. (link to Giles Coren's now deleted tweets)
But that was the purpose of this blog when we launched 4 weeks ago plus 700,000 odd hits later. We wanted to agitate and stimulate and feel proud to have been part of forcing privacy decisions away from the Courts and back to Parliament.
When the news is pumped out so fast, as has been in the last day or so, the detail can often get lost.
So let us look at the injunction judgment from last Friday (read it here because nobody else is), News Group forced MNB to reveal himself as Sir Frederick Goodwin. However, Goodwin has refused to alter the injunction any further. Despite the highly paid QC's representing News Group, they were unable to force out the lady he had an affair with, although Goodwin did say it was a work colleague on the grounds of Public Interest.
In the meantime, the real world (the internet) had outed her a long time ago and just typing Fred Goodwin into Google tells you who it is. For those too lazy to type, here is a screen shot.
Back to the injunction.
The Telegraph didn't come out too well. It's recent reporting was full of errors and the Court was obviously delighted at pointing this out. But then what do you expect when the only people who know what is going on are a few Judges?
The bit that amused us though was this:
"All media organisations are aware that they (or any member of the public) served with or notified of the order are always free to apply to the court to have any injunction varied or discharged where the order restrains any publication or interferes with the right of freedom of expression. This is a right which media organisations exercise only very rarely."
Now I get the feeling the Courts are going to start saying "all members of the public are aware of all the injunctions because they are published on the internet and so all members of the public are party to the gagging order".
This means anyone who saw the photograph of a footballer who looked like Ryan Giggs at the weekend, or has read about Gareth Barry's infidelities and Giles Coren's Tweets or searched on Twitter about Didier Drogba or Kevin Nolan or the unrelated Stephen Nolan is party to information so confidential that the UK's security is in danger (has the MoD banned USD sticks yet?), its national well being under attack from an outbreak of paranoia and the lives of thousands are being put at risk with the upshot all the media will close down, all pubs burned, smartphone users jailed and all passports will be revoked in the name of protecting a few wealthy celebrities. That is our opinion but this is what the Judge said:
"Although many of those who obtain injunctions and anonymised orders to restrain the publication of private or confidential information are rich and famous, many others are not, and some are amongst the most vulnerable children: see the judgment of Baker J in W v M & Ors  EWHC 1197 (COP) (12 May 2011) at para , and my judgment in TSE and ELP v NGN Ltd  EWHC 1308 (QB)."
So there you go. It is important the vulnerable are protected but it seems these injunctions are being abused by the rich and famous to protect themselves from bad behaviour too.
The Court continued and said the lifting of the injunction was not in the public interest and the FSA which regulates banks was not impacted in not knowing about it. The FSA needs to understand what banks do to justify the huge bonuses paid to their people. That is the mantra we understand.
Uh? The FSA would have had no idea, like the rest of us, of this injunction and if they had found the injunction on the internet it is unlikely they would have said:
"MNB, isn't that Goodwin, CEO of RBS? His profession isn't noted so it cannot be him. Nothing to worry about then."
Please read the detail. It is quite alarming. The Courts are running this country. Check out "Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition" on wikipedia.
It is not a nice place to be.