Saturday, 30 January 2010

Telegraph on lifting of John Terry injunction: 'A step away from a privacy law via the back door'

The Daily Telegraph today welcomes yesterday's court ruling lifting the super-injunction which stopped the press reporting England football captain John Terry's affair.
It says in a leader: "The decision of the High Court yesterday to lift the injunction preventing newspapers identifying John Terry, the Chelsea and England captain, as the footballer alleged to have had an extramarital affair marks an important step away from the imposition by the back door of a privacy law on the British media. It follows the ruling of the Supreme Court this week that removed the blanket anonymity surrounding four suspected terrorists who had challenged a decision by HM Treasury to freeze their assets. The anonymity orders had been granted, as they usually are, under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees respect for a private life. Lord Rodger, giving the judgment of the Supreme Court, said there were powerful public interest rights that justified curtailing the right to anonymity. A similar decision has been taken in the Terry case.
"This is not about prurience or a desire to assuage a public appetite for tittle-tattle. There are bigger issues at stake. The courts have been increasingly using "super-injunctions" – catch-all measures that make the reporting of their existence unlawful, as in the Trafigura pollution case, when even a parliamentary question referring to the injunction could not be reported. If we have now seen the end of the super-injunction and a reassertion of the public interest, then it has been a good week for a free press."

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