The issue of superinjunctions is a hot one at the moment. Freedom of speech (or expression as some are saying) versus someones’ right to privacy. The press are scared that they won’t be able to report on vital establishment-shaking issues and people are worried that anything goes and will have to spend a fortune in the courts when their shit hits the fan, or newstand.
One of the arguements the press use is that with these injuctions they won’t be able to expose all these celebrities and public figures for the hypocrits they are. Fair enough, but who is a celebrity? What makes a public figure?
Sometimes it’s easy to say. An MP is a public figure, the leader of a campaign is open to scrutiny, the sportstar that uses his/her image to advertise stuff. They are all trying to influence the public to behave in a certain way. If they are not true to their word then fair enough, a charge of hypocrasy should be called and they shoudl have to defend themselves. They have, though, put themselves forward. They decided to enter the public concience in a certain way.
But what of the likes of Fred Goodwin. He was just a banker. Fred didn’t put himself in the public domain, he was thrust into it due to circumstance. Fred didn’t shout that we shouldn’t be doing drugs or being faithful to our spouses while snorting a barrel full of cocaine out the anus of a prostitute while his good little wife waited at home, sat at the table looking at an empty chair while dinner their plated up dinner slowly went cold. He ran a bank. No one, outside a very small circle, before the banking crises had heard of him.
So while the hoo-ha about his running of the bank or his massive pension agreement could be a fair target why should his choice of sexual partner be up for all and sundry to know about?
Fred was apparently shagging a colleague. How does that change things? Lots of people fuck someone they work with. It might cause a bit of concern if it’s the government defence secretary having secret liasons, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the liason is a honeytrap, but a banker? Does it really have any bearing on anything?
Fred Goodwin may be a national bogeyman, but the fact that he is not a public figure of his own making means he shouldn’t have needed an injunction to supress this little bit of his life that is of no consequence of anybody except those close to him, such as his wife and family.
It is entirely possible for this affair to have had some bearing of the massive losses RBS suffered, making it in need of govenrment help, in which case the press would be legitimate in it’s publication. There is nothing wrong with the press investigating this stuff, that is what they need to do to expose hypocracy and shadowy dealings that are of genuine public interest, but when there is no connection between his affair and (his part in) the collapse of the UK banking industry then there is no need to run it.
This obsession of the printed Press with who is shagging who is what is causing this, what seems to be, sudden flurry of injunctions. If the press stuck to what was important and relevant, there wouldn’t be any need for these people to try and gag the editors freedom of speech.
I understand that an MP might want to use Parliamentary privilege to smash an injunction, in the case of Trafigura for instance, but why the hell did the LibDem MP John Hemming think it’s anyones business who the fuck is fucking who?
MPs’ need to stop buggering about with this and either leave superinjuctions alone unless there is serious public interest being censured or debate it and sort out a proper privacy law.