Monday 16 August 2010

Judge made privacy law threat to free press warning as Premier League footballer gags paper

A leading Premier League footballer has won a High Court injunction to prevent the publication of claims about his private life, the Sunday Telegraph has reported.
The paper says the player was successful on Friday in blocking disclosures in a tabloid Sunday newspaper. The player cannot be identified for legal reasons after obtaining the ruling from Mr Justice Nicol.
Meanwhile,the Independent's media columnist Stephen Glover has another pop at Mr. Justice Eady today over the injunction granted to golfer Colin Montgomerie to prevent publication of a story about his private life.
Glover says the case "confirms that a judge-made privacy law, largely developed by Mr Justice Eady, has transformed the way in which the tabloids in general and the News of the World in particular operate."
He writes: "Last Thursday The Daily Telegraph reported that Colin Montgomerie, the golfer, who is Europe's captain during this autumn's Ryder Cup in the United States, had used an injunction to prevent the publication of a story about his private life.
"The following day The Sun carried a piece about Paula Tagg, described as an 'ex-lover' of Mr Montgomerie, who is 'subject to a legal gag over [his] sex life'. Evidently Ms Tagg has a story about Mr Montgomerie which she would like to supply to a newspaper, almost certainly the News of the World, but is unable to do so because of the injunction.
"Whether it was a 'super-injunction' – a device that prevents the press from even reporting that an injunction has been issued – is disputed, but we did not know about it until the Telegraph ran its story.
"Most of us probably have little interest in Mr Montgomerie's private life. Not being a golfer, I have no interest in him whatsoever. What is disquieting is the principle. The idea that a judge such as Mr Justice Eady can issue a 'gagging order' whose very existence cannot even be reported should be disturbing to anyone who believes in a free press."

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