Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Trafigura, Carter-Ruck and the Streisand Effect

UPDATE: The situation has now been resolved and the Guardian ungagged. Read to the bottom of the post for further details.

Author's note: I am not the Devil's Kitchen. Cross-posted from Mr Eugenides.

Looks like Carter-Ruck solicitors should be in the PR business, because neither I nor, I'll wager, you, had ever heard of Trafigura until they allegedly slapped an injunction on the Guardian prohibiting them from - get this - reporting proceedings in Parliament in which Trafigura's name had, apparently, been mentioned.

Well, get comfy, guys, because you're big time now; everyone who's anyone (as well as those of us who aren't) are busily writing about you, and directing baffled readers to articles like this one, in the Independent. In no particular order, you're now famous to the readers of, inter alia, Iain Dale, Guido, Dizzy, Next Left, Unity, Chicken Yoghurt, Harry's Place and Timmy, who between them can't be a kick in the arse off having a higher daily readership than the paper you've tried to gag. (This outbreak of blogospheric solidarity, to put it into context, is akin to the Russians and the Germans taking a time-out from slaughtering each other to erect a big sign in downtown Stalingrad telling everyone that Cary Grant was a poof.) Add Alex Massie at the Spectator and Nick Cohen and Joshua Rozenberg at Standpoint magazine, and this is quickly becoming an online clusterfuck of epic proportions.

One day these highly-remunerated libel lawyers are going to wake up and realise that they aren't being paid in guineas any more and that, thanks to this thing called the Interwebs, they can't shut down freedom of speech the way they used to in the old days. On the contrary; as Barbara Streisand found to her cost, 99% of people don't give a shit about 99% of stuff, right up the moment when you start waving your arms up and down telling them to stop reading about it.

If I were you, I'd ask Carter-Ruck to itemise the bill.

UPDATE: The Guardian have now been ungagged after a tsunami of online publicity, and after having requested (though before receiving) an urgent hearing to discuss the gag order.

3 comments:

Blue Eyes said...

I don't know what particular embarrassment the "cover-up" relates to, but Newsnight did a pretty good job of bringing Trafigura out from the cold a few weeks ago.

Most people don't read blogs.

James Higham said...

Eh, you're not at home.

IAlbion said...

Gary Grant was not a poof!!!!!!!