ModernityBlog

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Posts Tagged ‘Libel laws

The Web And Super-Injunctions.

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The Beeb has a good article on how the web is defeating super-injunctions:

“Injunctions have allowed entertainers, sport stars, actors and many more to protect what they see as their right to privacy from the press.

And this has left many in traditional media, from The Guardian and The Daily Mail to The Sun, furious about what they can, and what they cannot, report.

But on the internet, especially on social media, rumours about who the proceedings could be about circle and grow without any fear of legal reprisal.

Just the simple use of a search engine often brings back hundreds of results, each reporting (though unconfirmed) they know who the person is and naming the identity of those guarded by law. “

Carter-Ruck, Trafigura And Those Emails.

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These posts could get a bit big, so I will split them up, Richard Wilson’s comments are here.

The BBC will probably clear down any criticism, no matter how mild, of Trafigura, so I think it is best to keep a copy of those Trafigura emails which indicate they knew what they were doing and why.

A copy of those emails is at the BBC.

More on journalism.co.uk too.

Trafigura Intimidates The BBC.

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Trafigura are still at it.

Despite overwhelming and compelling evidence which demonstrate their culpability and negligence in polluting the Ivory Coast, Trafigura are using highly paid lawyers to bully people and silent the media.

In this instance, they’ve managed to intimidate the rather weak will BBC as Left Foot Forward reports:

“Libel reform campaigners have reacted with “dismay” at the BBC’s decision to concede to toxic waste shippers Trafigura in the High Court. In a statement, the BBC said it withdrew “the allegation that deaths, miscarriages or serious or long-term injuries were caused by the waste and apologises to Trafigura for having claimed otherwise.”

The case was brought by Carter Ruck on behalf after the BBC claimed in its Newsnight programme of 13 May 2009 titled ‘Dirty Tricks and Toxic waste‘ that Trafigura had caused deaths by being involved in the dumping of toxic waste in Abidjan in the Ivory Coast. A number of blogs carried the report even after it was removed by the BBC. In February 2007, Reuters reported that “Ivory Coast has confirmed the deaths of a five more people from exposure to toxic waste dumped in Abidjan last August, taking the death toll to 15.”

Readers will remember how Trafigura employed these tactics recently.

Minton, Carter-Ruck and Trafigura.

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Trafigura’s desire to keep the lid on the Minton report meant it spent an inordinate amount of money hiring the best lawyers that money can buy in Britain, Carter-Ruck, to keep even the name of the Minton report secret, lest people read it. The Guardian examines some of its contents:

“The Minton report, commissioned in 2006 from the London-based firm’s scientific consultants, said that based on the “limited” information they had been given Trafigura’s oil waste, dumped cheaply the month before in a city in Ivory Coast , was potentially highly toxic, and “capable of causing severe human health effects”.

The study said early reports of large scale medical problems among the inhabitants of Abidjan, including respiratory and eye problems, discomfort, and nausea, were consistent with a release of a cloud of potentially lethal hydrogen sulphide gas over the city.

The author of this initial draft study, John Minton, of consultants Minton, Treharne & Davies, said dumping the waste would have been illegal in Europe and the proper method of disposal should have been a specialist chemical treatment called wet air oxidation.

Although the report was cautious in tone, pointing out that unreliable press reports and “mass hysteria” might have led to exaggeration of alleged ill effects, its contents were unwelcome.

Trafigura subsequently did not use the report in the personal injury report in the claim against them and did not disclose the report’s existence.

It issued a series of public statements over the next three years saying the waste had been routinely disposed of and was harmless. Trafigura based this decision on other reports produced from an analysis of the slops obtained from the Probo Koala ship. Trafigura dismissed complaints of illness in a lawsuit brought by 30,000 inhabitants of Abidjan, before being eventually forced last month to pay them £30m in compensation and legal costs in a confidential out of court settlement.”

The actual report is on Wikileaks here as a PDF.

Trafigura have spent vast sums of money trying to override press freedom, keep secret the Minton report and protect their reputation, yet in the age of the Internet their actions have had the opposite effect.

Update 1: This page contains the related Guardian, Trafigura and the Probo Koala information.

Update 2: More on Twitter’s role in breaking the veil of secrecy imposed by Carter-Ruck.

Update 3: Stephen Fry as seen by the Torygraph.

Update 4: findingDulcinea on British Libel Law Examined After Controversial Gag Order Against The Guardian.