Note to Trafigura/Carter Ruck: you can’t suppress Twitter

Filed as News on October 13, 2009 11:49 am

No matter how hard a bunch of fat cat solicitors representing a globally polluting oil company try to suppress traditional reporting of what happens in British parliament, they have no control over Twitter and the blogosphere.

And that’s exactly how it should be.

The Guardian may have been placed in a farcical position where not only could it not report on a certain question due to be asked in Parliament this week because of an injunction, but it couldn’t even report what the injunction was:

Today’s published Commons order papers contain a question to be answered by a minister later this week. The Guardian is prevented from identifying the MP who has asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question is to be found.

The Guardian is also forbidden from telling its readers why the paper is prevented – for the first time in memory – from reporting parliament. Legal obstacles, which cannot be identified, involve proceedings, which cannot be mentioned, on behalf of a client who must remain secret.

The only fact the Guardian can report is that the case involves the London solicitors Carter-Ruck, who specialise in suing the media for clients, who include individuals or global corporations.

Perhaps the old fashioned legal types at Carter-Ruck (who have a web site but not much else, it seems) have failed to understand that if you try to suppress something, it simply fuels reportage on social networks.

That’s why this morning’s top trending topics on Twitter were Trafigura and Carter-Ruck (or #CarterRuck).

Such tactics may have worked in a pre-Internet age, but no longer.

More information on the story itself: Social media turns toxic avenger for The Guardian | Guardian gagging order sparks Twitter frenzy

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  1. By Terry Duffelen posted on October 13, 2009 at 4:22 pm
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    A triumph for democracy, free speech and social media. Also, an example of how the mass media are no longer able to control the news agenda as effectively as they did. It’s a scandal that much of the mainstream media paid scant attention to this story.

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