Sunday 22 May 2011

Scolds the front page: Indy says the law is a farce

This is how the Independent sums up the furore surrounding court injunctions on its front page today.

Inside the paper's media commentator Stephen Glover writes: "The High Court is trying to enforce the unenforceable. Until now, newspapers, which are generally obedient, had respected such orders, but their patience is cracking because the information is so readily available on the internet or Twitter. Last Friday, Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, expressed surprise that "someone who has a true claim for protection" should be "at the mercy of modern technology". His Lordship needs to wake up to the 21st century.

"Judges have made things worse for themselves. If they had not issued so many privacy orders forbidding newspapers to publish, there would probably not have been the reaction we have seen on the internet. By denying newspapers the right to publish what is arguably in the public interest, judges have stimulated an enormous public appetite which only the internet can satisfy.

"The judges are their own worst enemies in another way. They have not understood the rising disquiet at the privacy law they are developing out of Article Eight of the European Convention on Human Rights. They believed only the tabloids were irked. In fact, the issue is turning into one of free speech which concerns parliamentarians and the public."

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