Trafigura MP gagging creates trending topic
Twitter sees newspaper reporting of the Trafigura issue create a trending topic that's making a laughing stock of the gagging order
Reports relating to the Trafigura hazardous waste dumping off the Ivory Coast and the company’s apparent knowledge of the situation through the recently-emerged email trail have seen Twitter fans create a trending topic that highlights the restriction of freedom of speech in the British press.
Although many high profile Twitterers such as Stephen Fry and Caitlin Moran have come down in favour of the newspaper, claiming that the fact that The Guardian has been forced to stop reporting the story is a matter that should be brought to the public’s attention, the story is showing just how controlled Fleet Street can be, especially when money and politics are involved.
What has emerged in the last few hours is that a legal firm called Carter Ruck, from Farringdon, central London, had placed a so-called ‘gagging order’ on The Guardian to stop it reporting details of a Parliamentary question relating to the Trafigura issue. It is believed that the MP in question is Paul Farrelly, who was asking the House about protection of whistleblowers.
Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Guardian, has expressed his concern over the restriction, saying, “The media laws in this country increasingly place newspapers in a Kafkaesque world in which we cannot tell the public anything about information which is being suppressed, nor the proceedings which suppress it. It is doubly menacing when those restraints include the reporting of parliament itself.”
What makes this whole situation even more intriguing is the fact that Twitter and other blogs and social networking sites are able to highlight the issue quickly and openly, so are gagging orders worth the paper they’re written on anymore?