I read an article in today’s Guardian about a gagging order imposed on it. In short, the newspaper has been legally prevented from reporting about the alleged dumping of toxic waste by a firm called Trafigura (it couldn’t even name the company).
The Guardian has been ordered to avoid reporting parliamentary proceedings about the matter. The newspaper’s David Leigh explains:
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.
Naturally I was interested to find out what this was all about. It turns out that many others were too, and the newspaper’s strong social media presence has allowed readers to fill in the gaps.