British media freedoms in the balance as cabinet to consider legislation including privacy law and regulation of social media

Ministers are to hold emergency talks over the celebrity super-injunction imbroglio that could pave the way to a privacy law and an attempt to regulate social networking sites.As the names of public figures alleged to have taken out ultra-restrictive gagging orders continued to circulate freely on Twitter – and newspapers from Spain to Peru repeated their identities – Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the proliferation of information on the web had made a “mockery” of current privacy rules. see:European Court Rejects Bid to Limit News on Celebrities
For British celebrities, the hope of covering up an affair or other indiscretion is fading fast.The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, on Tuesday struck down a legal bid to strengthen the privacy protections for public figures. At the same time, individuals have been turning to the Internet to circumvent British reporting restrictions that protect these figures, turning Twitter into a sort of WikiLeaks for celebrity tell-alls. will draw the line between freedom of speech and privacy?
The prospect of drafting a privacy bill traditionally provokes a torrent of excuses from senior British politicians. Determining precisely where to draw the line between freedom of speech and the right to personal secrecy is acknowledged to be fiendishly difficult.But the vortex of superinjunctions, marital infidelities broadcast over Twitter in defiance of court orders, and former escorts complaining about one-sided justice for the rich is stirring up calls for parliamentary intervention. How long can Twitter remain above the law?
A series of legal actions will mean that the millions of users of sites like Twitter and Facebook can no longer post their comments without impunityThe net is closing in on social media sites which claim they are under no obligation to unmask users who publish material that breaches the law. Twitter has said it will not censor or identify a mystery user who claimed to expose celebrities using super-injunctions, despite the material being potentially considered to be in contempt of court.The San Francisco-based social networking site, which recorded the busiest day of online traffic in its history yesterday, lies outside of the jurisdiction of UK courts. Relying on the US First Amendment commitment to freedom of speech, Twitter advises individuals complaining about abusive or libellous tweets: “If you’re dealing with a potential legal issue, please contact a lawyer”. web ‘making mockery’ of privacy laws
Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, yesterday said that the internet is “making a mockery” of privacy laws and pledged to investigate how regulations can be improved.Mr Hunt said it was “crazy” that super-injunctions barred newspapers from publishing information which was widely available on Twitter and other social networking websites.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.