This article is brought to you with the aid of three “Supers”; Stars, Injunctions and Massive Black Holes. An odd combination but as you’ll see they’re connected.
You can’t have missed the recent media storm over celebrities and senior figures using a legal instrument to protect their privacy and prevent the media from running stories on their private lives. Personally I’m not at all interested in who’s done what to whom, where and when with whatever but of course we all know it does sell papers.
A normal injunction is a court order that asks a party to take action or prevents a party from undertaking certain activities – these are used widely in domestic matters such as family law disputes but can also be used in a wide range of contractual matters including copyright and patent infringements. OK that’s all well and good but what are these “Super-injunctions” ?
In simple terms they are used when an organisation or individual wishes to prevent reporting of a story which may bring them negative publicity, they’re also commonly referred to as gagging orders.
Over the past few weeks we’ve seen how these SI’s have been circumvented, politicians have parliamentary privilege which allows them to talk about cases within the confines of parliament and not be subject to prosecution. With parliamentary debates broadcast it makes something of a nonsense of the original objective of the SI.
There are also limitations in geographic scope and the press in Spain recently had great fun in “outing” a professional premiership footballer who had an SI in place regarding an extra marital affair.
The most recent high profile case is one that has also been played out on the web, specifically Twitter. Once the story broke in the Spanish press the twittersphere exploded with comments, jokes, jibes and some support for the outed star.
Human nature being what it is there is an insatiable desire to discover the celebrity who is trying to retain privacy whilst suffering domestic strife.
Unfortunately this particular celebrity sports star has not been well briefed or advised on how to manage the media maelstrom being played out on the social networks. The genie is out of the bottle and attacking those now feeding on the story will only end badly for the central player in this particular dama. Having shone so brightly for so many years people power that lauded this star and granted awards can equally turn and create an implosion that may turn this once shining example into a dark vaccuum and black hole of negativity.
Superinjunctions may provide a temporary “cease fire” in the battle to prevent media attention but ultimately they have been proven to be flawed and in the most recent cases acted as more of an incentive to “seek the truth”.
David Laud Twitter – @davidlaud email David.firstname.lastname@example.org