Saturday, 12 December 2009
Tiger Woods' media gagging injuncton makes UK 'the laughing stock of the world'
Tiger Wood's injunction against the British press has once again made the UK the laughing stock of the world when it comes to free speech, George Eaton claims on the New Statesman blog.
Eaton writes: "It's remarkable that Woods and his lawyers have embarked upon this self-defeating course of action.
"The pragmatic case against the injunction is that in the age of the internet any gag is destined to fail on its own terms. As the humiliating experience of Trafigura and Carter-Ruck demonstrated, injunctions only succeed in drawing attention to the story the claimant is attempting to suppress."
He adds: "The principled case against the injunction is that Woods lost his right to privacy by actively presenting himself as a role model. He built a $1bn brand around his image as a clean-cut, honest and virtuous individual. . .
"Woods would not have dared to seek an injunction in the United States where the first amendment guarantees free speech. But in Britain, where Mr Justice Eady's one man war on free expression continues, he predictably succeeded."
Eaton concludes: "Jack Straw (the Justice Secretary) has pledged to radically reform the system to tackle the growth of 'libel tourism'. After this latest embarrassment he must act with greater haste."