Anonymity injunctions protect other people, too

News Group tried to get CTB’s anonym­ity injunc­tion lis­ted last night, after John Hem­ming MP named the per­son in Par­lia­ment.

While Tugend­hat J’s rul­ing unfor­tu­nately kinda con­firms that (via jig­saw iden­ti­fic­a­tion) we all know who CTB is now, the third para­graph in the rul­ing — CTB v News Group News­pa­pers Ltd [2011] EWCH 1334 — bears repeat­ing. The injunc­tions are not just for the bene­fit of the claimant.

It is obvi­ous that if the pur­pose of this injunc­tion were to pre­serve a secret, it would have failed in its pur­pose. But in so far as its pur­pose is to pre­vent intru­sion or har­ass­ment, it has not failed. The fact that tens of thou­sands of people have named the claimant on the inter­net con­firms that the claimant and his fam­ily need pro­tec­tion from intru­sion into their private and fam­ily life. The fact that a ques­tion has been asked in Par­lia­ment seems to me to increase, and not to dimin­ish the strength of his case that he and his fam­ily need that pro­tec­tion. The order has not pro­tec­ted the claimant and his fam­ily from taunt­ing on the inter­net. It is still effect­ive to pro­tect them from taunt­ing and oth­er intru­sion and har­ass­ment in the print media.

(my emphas­is)

It could be sim­pler if news­pa­per apo­lo­gies had to take up the same num­ber of square inches of the paper as the ori­gin­al offend­ing article(s). The cost of such an apo­logy might be the only thing that may make them focus on stor­ies of pub­lic interest, rather than on feed­ing on the profit gained by the gen­er­al public’s pruri­ence. It has a cer­tain poet­ic justice that I like, too.

2 thoughts on “Anonymity injunctions protect other people, too”

  1. As I read some­where yes­ter­day, Mr Giggs et al would have done bet­ter to engage one Max Clif­ford than Schillings. This would have been a tiny stor­mette in a tea­cup if he hadn’t gone for an injunc­tion. Instead, he and his fam­ily have been exposed to far more pub­li­city due to his actions.

    Also, Imo­gen Thomas has had no oppor­tun­ity to defend her­self again­st these alleg­a­tions, which I think is shame­ful.

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