I wrote last Friday’s blog before the weekend’s Twittering events and it is quite clear that the injunction protecting the footballer’s privacy is unsustainable. Clearly barring all of the press from mentioning a name simply is a non-starter (especially as the footballer’s name was chanted by fans at yesterday’s Premier League games).
However, several facts are being missed in the current reporting furore. First is that the Court granted the footballer an injunction because the newspaper concerned was the beneficiary of an unsuccessful blackmail attempt. Then the newspaper concerned arranged photographers to be present at meetings between the woman and footballer as pretence so that it could claim that it stumbled on their relationship by accident.
Additionally, the newspaper concerned provided no evidence of the public interest angle to its story, unlike the footballer who provided medical evidence of the impact on his family and children. And the most likely explanation for the exposure of the footballer's name via Twitter is someone linked (directly or indirectly) to the newspaper caused the detail to be placed in the public domain so other newspapers could report it
That newspaper was “the Sun”. It has the same owner as the “News of the World”, the newspaper at the heart of the phone hacking scandal.
All the current debate is being reported in a context that assumes newspapers have engaged in honest, decent and lawful behaviour:- ferreting out details, on principle, so to expose some great malfeasance. Such a claim is absolute rubbish. As I said in a previous blog: the more celebrities bonk, the more these newspapers bank.
These are the ignored, uncomfortable truths that should lie at the heart of the current "freedom of the press" debate.
References: my previous blogs (below) will lead to all the legal references you need in relation to this case.