This is a long post and more or less a raw collection of my thoughts on the injunction debacle using sources from a few online journals.
Please dont read any further if you find the topic boring.:)
Soone of the top stories making the rounds in most of UK media is the issue of celebrities taking out superinjunctions to protect their private lives.To be specific to hide their affairs..allegedly of course! :)
According to compactlaw online, Injunctions are court orders that requires a party to do, or to refrain from doing, certain acts. Quite simply the idea behind an injunction is to to protect the privacy of other parties. For instance an injunction can be taken out against noisy neighbours, or can prevent someone from removing a child from a country or even to prevent someone from getting rid of their assets.
Obviously for anyone to resort to this remedy, an existing relationship has been damaged to such an extent that one party is harassing, threatening or assaulting the other. One of such popular injuction is a restraining order.
An injunction might also prevent somebody publishing something about you which you do not like.
Now a superinjunction on the other hand is on another scale. A Contra Mundum super-injunction is an order that 'ideally should be' enforceable worldwide and in perpetuity.
Imagine the examples above but on the world stage and..perhaps..in the world wide web..I.E No one in the world is allowed to publish stories that reflects negatively upon these celebs.
That is exactly what some celebs tried to do..allegedly of course
A superinjunction not only prevents media sources from revealing the name of an individual named, but it even prevents those sources from mentioning that an injunction exists. In practice judges issuing such an injunction distribute notices to newspapers, TV news companies, websites and so on to ensure they comply.
Superinjunctions are expensive, certainly for the use and protection of the very wealthy.
Several questions arises from this order, hat about the right of the other party to speak about the previous relationship? What if the celebs use these orders to protect an illegal act? Last but not least,how will the legal system enforce or police such an order in a world wide scale?
As it is the social media in general and Twitter in particular, have been carrying details of some of the celebrities involved in their tweets and blogs.
The following is an excerpt from the super injunction blogspot who culled it from a twitterer called Billy Jones.
"Two stars of the TV show Shameless, David Threlfall and Pauline McLynn (Libby Croker) had an affair. Both are married.
British actor Hugh Bonneville paid £195 for the services of prostitute Helen Wood. Wood used a sex toy on Bonneville.
Gordon Ramsay sexually harassed a female employee and sacked a male chief executive for no reason, he is still owed wages.British comedian/actor David Schneider is into BDSM and visits spanking establishments to engage in the whipping of women.
Footballer Ryan Giggs had an extramarital affair with Big Brother star Imogen Thomas which lasted for 7 months. "
The Spanish press first revealed the identity of Giggs but on the 23rd May LibDem MP John Hemming also revealed his name.
Full legal judgement originally made by Mr Justice Eady after hearings on the 14 & 20 April 2011 can be found here
A distinguished family man, Channel 4 online describes Ryan Giggs, as the most succesful footballer in UK history who has won every single trophy in club football.
The other celebrities named above, are also very successful in their respective careers.
It is interesting to note how public personalities are attributed certain expectations. The argument is that a person who earns a living from 'selling' a certain public image and reputation is expected to uphold that image at all times..the day such a person is found wanting, he is villified by the same public and this might affect his 'brand' and in the long run his earnings..Tiger Woods, Arnold Scharzenneger, IMF Khan,are high profile people whose careers are affected by their indiscretions yet they cannot resist but cheat..Its not so much the cheating but the peddling of a wholesome image and gaining substantially from it.
Hugh Salmon in his blog raises another question:
the extraordinary impact of Twitter, Facebook and
the internet generally.
We also know about the huge financial valuations that are currently being placed on
these and other ‘new media’ companies. We are experiencing another dotcom boom.
These valuations are based on the value of these potential audiences in terms of
marketing and advertising cash.
One issue of concern is the anonymity, inanity - and, now, legality - of many of the
comments made on the internet. They are certainly a consideration to advertisers
backing the sites that ‘distribute’ or ‘broadcast’ them (deliberate ‘old media’ terms).
So when a Contra Mundum order is issued in London, it raises a debate and a set of
questions that our industry has a vested interest in answering:
- to what extent, in the real world, is this Contra Mundum enforceable?
- why is it easier to defame someone online rather than offline?
- what about all these ‘comments’ that are made behind a veil of anonymity?
- are these anonymous commentators above the law?
- if so, why?
- if not, to what extent are they controllable?
- what are we doing to police them?
- what are the owners of websites and blogging forums doing to monitor them?
- is there a code of practice?
- should advertisers support websites that do not abide by a code of practice?
- who is making the rules?
The Guardian online reports that Twitter users and the courts go to war over injunction Very interesting article there!
Too many interesting perspectives! Will update as the debate continues...