Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Guardian Gagged from Reporting Parliament

If there's one place in the land that should never be the subject of a gagging order, it is the place where our representatives gather and debate, and where they hold government to account. Yet, extraordinarily, the Guardian newspaper has been served with an order gagging it from reporting a parliamentary question from Labour backbencher Paul Farrelly later this week. the question is already laid out on the Order Paper, but thanks to the injunction obtained by solicitors Carter-Ruck, the Guardian cannot even mention the MPs' name, let alone the subject of his question or likely reply.

It may be scandalous that such an order can be issued, but fortunately in this age of internet communication, other sources are not so restrained. Thus, the blogger Guido Fawkes has commented on this and published the question that the Guardian has been gagged from reporting; he also links to this story, linked to the issue that Carter-Ruck's clients are so keen to trample on free speech for; while Iain Dale also reports the matter extensively, and carries this link to the original Guardian story, by reporter David Leigh, that has caused all the fuss. Seems that companies like Trafigura can dump all the toxic waste they like along the West African coast, and stil manage to use the British legal system to keep their activities quiet.

UPDATE: Lovely piece here from a blogger called Mr. Eugenides about how Carter-Ruck's attempt to gag the Guardian has pretty well guaranteed that Trafigura have now received far greater coverage than they ever would if no such order had been placed. Suddenly, they're big news and their nefarious activities are in every spotlight!

UPDATE 2: Carter-Ruck have accepted defeat and withdrawn the gag order. Nick Higham on the BBC website has posted an analysis of the internet/twitter aspects of today's rather extraordinary developments. A commenter of good repute reports some tension within Trafigura about whether to employ the very aggressive Carter-Ruck - good that they know what they're doing, these poisoners of innocent Africans.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

A certain someone we both know was working for a company involved closely with this story, and it was widely aknowledged that Carter Ruck were going to make things far worse with their aggressive approach. Trafigura were advised to drop them, but refused/were unable to.

Glad to see that worked out for them...

lauraO said...

Great news that this can now be reported on. 38 Degrees are currently running a campaign to stop this happening again. Take action now by emailing your MP and asking them to take a stand. Take action now, it only takes 2 mins. Go to:

www.38degrees.org.uk/stop-the-gag

GM said...

Interesting to hear about the behind the scenes debate - whoever at Trafigura decided to keep Carter-Fuck must now be feeling decidedly insecure!

Anonymous said...

Language!

Anonymous said...

All that gagging been a bad influence on you sir.