Thursday, April 21, 2011

Contra mundum

Obscure Latin legal term that normally nobody ever would have heard about save only that these days it's coming somewhat into vogue because of gagging orders. It literally means "against the world" and it does seem that many of these gagging orders are being used specifically to deal with instances of preventing the public knowing about instances of companies as well as the rich and famous getting caught and their affairs published worldwide by the press or even bloggers I guess as the term is a catch all.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he feels "uneasy" about judges granting injunctions to protect the privacy of powerful individuals.
He argued that Parliament, not judges, should decide on the balance between press freedom and privacy.
The courts are using human rights legislation "to deliver a sort of privacy law", he warned.
His comments follow a number of recent injunctions which have banned the identification of celebrities.
Mr Cameron was challenged about the use of injunctions during a question-and-answer session at the General Motors factory in Luton.
He said: "I think there is a question here about privacy and about the way our system works."
"I think we do need to have a proper sit back and think: is this right?
"What ought to happen in a parliamentary democracy, is Parliament, which you elect and put there, should decide how much protection we want for individuals and [on] freedom of the press and the rest of it."
But Mr Cameron admitted he did not have all the answers and that he needed to think some more about the issues.
Of course parliamentary privilege means that an MP can get up and say what we aren't allowed to, though the Carter Ruck's of this world have recently tried to gag parliament itself, fortunately without success.
Thing is though if a company or guy gets caught with their figurative hand in the cookie jar why should they get legal protection via a gagging order? Ok I don't really give a damn about which premiership footballers are shagging other women outside their marriage, but if they are caught with their pants down then no, they don't get to gag the press. Same with Trafigura and Ivory Coast toxic waste.
Even today a judge set a new benchmark for secrecy laws yesterday by granting a TV star a permanent gagging order until now reserved for killer children.
The ‘family’ man, a household name, won the High Court injunction to suppress for ever ‘intimate’ photographs of him with a woman.
It is the latest in a series of increasingly draconian secrecy rulings and came just one day after appeal judges decreed that another celebrity who had an affair with a  colleague should remain anonymous to protect his children.
Perhaps he should have thought about protecting his children by not doing what he was doing? But for life? I can't imagine what the judge thought he was doing.
We really ought to be getting back to a situation where if you're caught doing something you shouldn't be then you pay the consequences. If that means having your name dragged through the mud by the press then so be it, gagging the press to prevent publication of your peccadillo's is not healthy for society as a whole, be it business or private individuals. If you don't want your kids to know what a scoundrel you are, then either be more careful or don't be a scoundrel in the first place, you shouldn't have recourse to the law to cover up your sins.

1 annotations:

James Higham said...

Wonder if he'd "feel uneasy" if we didn't pay our taxes?