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Now that I've got your attention, or at least myself and a few million others including the British judicial system, Parliament and the Twittersphere (not to mention the Permier League and the FA), perhaps we can all share a laugh.
Let's start with a Lord Chief Justice called Judge who, Canute-like, thinks the power of Britain's legal system can hold back the tide of global social media communications.
Then there are the MPs who think that separation of the powers (between the law and the legislators) applies except when an attempt to hold back the tide of global social media communications could end in a significant loss or gain of governmental street-cred.
There's the media, which thinks that everything is in the public interest to the point where if they don't actually have the full story they'll make it up and are then surprised when they get hoist with their own petard Or, worse still, feed on their own when they themselves break the law. The eagerness with which every side is prepared to turn to the European Human Rights Act to quote either Article 8 (right to respect for private & family life) or Article 10 (Freedom of expression) along with justification of 'public interest' would be hysterical if it wasn't so dangerous. Certainly it was interesting to the public that the BBC - our Public Service Broadcaster - was the very last organisation to 'go public' in the name of public interest with the latest super-scandal.
And then of course, there's those who feel that they only way they can proctect their Article 8 rights is by way of super injunctions. These are almost exclusively the domain of individuals who, through incredible talent, luck, or divesting any remaining dignity to appear on reality television shows, accept the vast rewards of being at the top of their profression or just being in the public spotlight because they can - not that I'm interested.
Does anyone of any level of fame or legal standing still think that the earth is flat, or that an injunction or super-injunction issued in a world of electronic super-communication is not going to be discovered and broadcast globally. How naive are you? And when you're a public service journalist yourself, it's doesn't get any worse. Why are these individual suddenly so surprised that they're re making front page news 'in the public interest'. Being famous works both ways. Let's face it, we're not likely to see a super-injunction resulting from an indescretion by a member of, say, the Accrington Stanley reserve team any time soon.
I'm very far from being a prude, but is it just me or does anybody else find this whole circus all just a little hypocritical? Sorry, let me just remind you, in case you missed it, that Article 8 refers to the right to respect for private and family life. It seems odd that in almost every case involving injunctions, the defendent has something to hide and it's almost invariably sex or, on the media side, something illegal.
When I'm training organisations in crisis management and media handling, the first rule is "no comment is not an option". A super-injunction means you're hiding something, it's going to be bad and, almost without question, you've already been found out. You're likely to be found out anyway; an injunction just makes the prurience that much spicier and the public that much more interested.
But if you really don't want to be part of the war between media and celebrity, the battle between public interest and the individual or a shouting match between Legislature and the Legal Executive I have a simple piece of advice for anyone interested party. Keep it zipped!
Published 23rd May, 2011