Why super-injunctions are not, in fact, super
|May 24, 2011||Posted by Joe Towse under culture, national|
There is currently a very real chance of Twitter and several of its users coming under legal attack for the publication of details which broke super-injunctions. This is yet another step on the way to regulation of the internet, which, as I said in my post on copyright law, stifles creativity and ultimately hampers the ability of the individual to ‘make it’ using their creativity.
However, that’s not what I’m writing to complain about. Especially in the light of allegations regarding Chris Huhne and some certain hidden driving points, I feel that the time has come to abolish the awarding of injunctions of any sort. To me, the idea that a higher social status, and thus the ability to hide one’s private life, should come from fame is simply repugnant. I know damn well that I risk the consequences if I’m in any sort of relationship and I go and take a dive with someone else, so why shouldn’t they?
A common argument I see for the award of super-injunctions is that it is somehow in the ‘public interest’. This, I simply cannot comprehend. I welcome explanations, but to me the limiting of the freedom of expression is simply too great a cost for the privacy of one or two selfish ‘celebrities’ who feel that they are above the law of society. Once again, to allow a few people special privileges simply creates a super-class of untouchable human beings (and I emphasize that – human beings). This is only emphasized by the fact that a super-injunction is estimated to cost around £50,000 in legal fees – another case of ‘one rule for them and another rule for us’.
And so back to Huhne. Although a prosecution is supposedly abound, I cannot see him being held accountable for his actions, even if previous attempts by MPs to say that they are above the law were rightfully laughed down as silly and contrived. As far as I am aware, the evidence against him is not sufficient to convict a person who is essentially a celebrity (if it was me, on the other hand…), and his influence in the judiciary (as it is far from independent from the legislature or the executive) is not to be scoffed at.
The fact that Huhne, when faced with a fairly solid accusation, is calling his wife a liar, also, to me, ought to result in a libel action from or the other. Indeed, chances are that it would. The fact is, that we do not know whether anything has happened like this, purely because of the chances that a super-injunction has been issued. It may seem a little tenuous, and I agree, it is, but I’m solely trying to illustrate the destructive nature that the loss of freedom of the press could have on our society.
I suppose my point, really, is that freedom of speech is something that should remain as a constant – this extends to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of expression – with the sole proviso that people’s human rights are not violated; if the non-issue of a super-injunction or indeed regular injunction would put someone at risk, then I would be the first to support its issue. Aside from that though, let the latest batch be the bell of damnation for this defilement of basic human rights.