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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: October 13, 2009 @ 1:03 pm

    Guardian gagged – for a couple of hours

    Hugh Linehan

    Fascinating story breaking in the UK today about the gagging of the Guardian, which has been prevented from reporting on a parliamentary question tabled for the House of Commons this week. ”The Guardian is also forbidden from telling its readers why the paper is prevented – for the first time in memory – from reporting parliament,” according to guardian.co.uk. “Legal obstacles, which cannot be identified, involve proceedings, which cannot be mentioned, on behalf of a client who must remain secret.”

    Very interesting reaction on social media to all this. The Guardian may be prevented from naming the client (although it is allowed make reference to the involvement of media libel specialists Carter-Ruck), but check out Twitter, and the heavily-trending hashtag #trafigura, referencing the Dutch-registered company with an office in London which last month announced that it would pay out millions of pounds without any admission of liability over allegations that it dumped toxic waste in the Ivory Coast in 2006.

    As I’m writing this, Carter-Ruck have apparently backed down. The Guardian has just confirmed : “that the parliamentary question from Paul Farrelly MP subjected to reporting ban was related to Trafigura toxic waste scandal.”

    • LauraO says:

      Great news that this can now be reported on. 38 Degrees are currently running a campaign to stop this happening again. Take action now by emailing your MP and asking them to take a stand. Take action now, it only takes 2 mins. Go to:


    • Mark says:

      Brought a smile to my face to see the Guardian reporting that they cannot report, seemingly in the knowledge that it would set others on the trail.

      Guido had the story soon after the Guardian reported the non-reportable, last night the story was bubbling and today it is all over Twitter, the BBC have a preview of a documentary up and Carter-Ruck have backed down.

      Almost cliched now but: Information wants to be free, not only in monetary terms.

    • Gavin says:

      Twas an interesting one to watch developing on Twitter anyway..

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