Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Giggs’


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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