Monday, October 12, 2009

The Parliamentary Question Carter Ruck and Trafigura don’t want you to see

Thanks to the work of Don't Get Fooled Again...

From The Guardian

The Guardian has been prevented from reporting parliamentary proceedings on legal grounds which appear to call into question privileges guaranteeing free speech established under the 1688 Bill of Rights. Today’s published Commons order papers contain a question to be answered by a minister later this week. The Guardian is prevented from identifying the MP who has asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question is to be found. The Guardian is also forbidden from telling its readers why the paper is prevented – for the first time in memory – from reporting parliament. Legal obstacles, which cannot be identified, involve proceedings, which cannot be mentioned, on behalf of a client who must remain secret. The only fact the Guardian can report is that the case involves the London solicitors
Carter-Ruck, who specialise in suing the media for clients, who include individuals or global corporations.

From Parliament.uk,

“Questions for Oral or Written Answer beginning on Tuesday 13 October 2009″
(292409)
61

N Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of legislation to protect (a) whistleblowers and (b) press freedom following the injunctions obtained in the High Court by (i) Barclays and Freshfields solicitors on 19 March 2009 on the publication of internal Barclays reports documenting alleged tax avoidance schemes and (ii) Trafigura and Carter-Ruck solicitors on 11 September 2009 on the publication of the Minton report on the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, commissioned by Trafigura.

The question above may or may not be the subject of the gagging order. Who can say?

The Guardian covers the Trafigura case, and why it matters, here. Private Eye have also been making some noise about the gagging laws, and how ridiculously open to abuse they are.

And Twitter is alive with coverage, which raises the question that, if gagging orders are so easy to sidestep, isn't it time we got rid of them all together?

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2 comments:

  1. 38 Degrees are currently running a campaign on this. Take action now by emailing your MP and asking them to take a stand and stop the bullying action of Trafigura. Take action now, it only takes 2 mins. Go to:

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

    ReplyDelete
  2. I used the 38 degrees site to write to my local MP about this. Annoyingly, I tailored my letter to make it clear that although this specific case had been resolved, something needed to be done to prevent journalists from being gagged at the whim of big business. Tessa Jowell's assistant merely wrote back to tell me the Trafigura / Minton report gagging order had been lifted, meaning they'd clearly not looked at the message at all.

    ReplyDelete

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