UK’s first Twit­ter gag

LAW: Blog site barred from re­port­ing sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion

Weekend Witness - - News -

LON­DON — A Bri­tish judge has banned Twit­ter users from iden­ti­fy­ing a brain-dam­aged woman in one of the first at­tempts to pre­vent the mes­sag­ing web­site from re­veal­ing sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion.

The rul­ing fol­lows the pub­li­ca­tion on Twit­ter on Sun­day of a list of celebri­ties al­leged to have tried to cover up sex­ual in­dis­cre­tions by ob­tain­ing court gag­ging or­ders.

The in­junc­tion, dated May 12 and seen by Reuters yes­ter­day, in­cludes Twit­ter and Face­book in the list of me­dia pro­hib­ited from dis­clos­ing the in­for­ma­tion.

It was is­sued in the case of a mother who wants to with­draw life sup­port from her brain-dam­aged daugh­ter. It pre­vents the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the woman and those car­ing for her. “This is among the first in­junc­tions specif­i­cally re­fer­ring to Twit­ter and Face­book, but there have been oth­ers ban­ning pub­li­ca­tion on the In­ter­net,” said in­tel­lectu- al prop­erty lawyer Keith Ar­row­smith.

Lawyers say leaks of in­for­ma­tion pro­tected by a Bri­tish in­junc­tion on U.S.-based Twit­ter show that court or­ders to gag the press are un­sus­tain­able.

Blog­gers can re­veal se­crets on Twit­ter anony­mously, said MP John Hem­ming, who is com­pil­ing a re­port on the strictest kind of gag­ging or­ders called “su­per-in­junc­tions”.

“They [in­junc­tions] de­pend re­ally on peo­ple’s will­ing­ness to fol­low the rules rather than any abil­ity to force it on them,” he said. — Reuters.

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