Care to mention anything else?

So, I’ve already mentionned the Guardian and Trafigura in my earlier blog post

Now enter Charlie Brooker and his very interesting article,”If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one to hear it, can Carter-Ruck ban all mention of the sound?”

Looking back at the whole the Guardian vs. Trafigura affair, two very important issues have arisen:

  • the importance of freedom of speech
  • are there any other super-injunctions

Article 19 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights explains that freedom of speech is:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

A simple Goggle search for “freedom of speech” brings up all matter of interesting articles and websites.

The Telegraph published this article on 12 February, 2009 asking what had happened to free speech. Looking at the comments, someone had written: “free speech is dying a slow death in the UK”. Is this true? And if it is, what can a journalist do to combat it? This I will need to figure out very soon…

On 26 November, 2007 Julian Joyce of the BBC wrote this article about the limits of free speech. Joyce includes an alternate viewpoint, where some people think they should be allowed to say whatever they want regardless of the offence they may cause. Couldn’t that viewpoint just be defined as “contraversial”? Couldn’t that be defined as what a blogger is?

Going back to Brooker, the Guardian being able to talk about the Minton report and Trafigura was an important victory for freedom of speech. The power of the internet meant that “Trafigura” was a word on everyone’s lips. The Twittersphere allowed for a vast amount of people to become part of what was happening.

This brings me round to my second point which Brooker also makes: are there any other super-injunctions that are in place?

A super-injunction is the ultimate legal gagging tool. Names, places, every single little detail is unknown. We, the public, remain completely oblivious to what is happening.

This got Brooker, and myself, thinking: what else don’t we know? The possibilites could, literally, be endless.

Brooker has summed it up perfectly –

“God knows. But he’s not allowed to tell you.”

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