Posts Tagged ‘gag order’


Contempt charges dropped for Kentucky sexual assault victim

Contempt charges were dropped this week for a Kentucky teen who faced possible jail time after breaking a gag order and tweeting the names of her attackers.

Defense attorneys asked for charges against the teen, Savannah Dietrich, because she violated court order in releasing the names of two teenage boys who plead guilty to sexually assaulting her.

However, as of Monday, July 23, defense attorneys dropped the contempt charges.

Because the story of Dietrich’s tweet went global and the names of the teenage boys spread further than the initial tweet, said David Mejia, defense attorney for one of the the two teenage boys, contempt proceedings would be meaningless.

Whitney is the summer Pulliam/Killgore intern with the Society of Professional Journalists. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University after studying journalism. Connect with her via email –  wevans@hq.spj.org –  or on twitter – @whitevs7

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FOI Fail of the Week: British gag order edition

Our pre-Memorial Day award for FOI Fail of the Week goes to the British court system’s injunction practices, which have been rocked this week by the revealing tweets of citizens.

Ryan Giggs, a soccer star, got a court injunction preventing media outlets from publishing the allegations he faces of having an affair with a reality television contestant.

His injunction is known as an “anonymized injunction,” where news outlets can publish information about him as long as his name is withheld.

The gag order didn’t keep Giggs’ identity a secret, however, as people posted his name and joked about his supposed indiscretions on Twitter.

The case has centered attention on “super-injunctions,” used in Britain to forbid journalists from both writing about something and also from writing about their inability to write in the first place. (Go back and read that again if you need.)

When Giggs’ attorneys insisted Twitter reveal the people behind the Internet campaign against the star, users spread the news even further.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt promised he would form a committee to review the rules for gagging orders and to assess potential alterations.

As for the odds of the Twitter users facing legal attacks for ignoring the injunction – well, they’re pretty slim.

With 75,000 people naming Giggs, British lawmaker John Hemming told Parliament that “it is obviously impracticable to imprison them all,” according to an Associated Press story.

– Morgan Watkins

Morgan Watkins is SPJ’s summer Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern and a University of Florida student. Reach her by email (mwatkins@spj.org) or connect with her on Twitter (@morganwatkins26).

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