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Gags and super-injunctions

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Alice Alice | 14:44 UK time, Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Old Bailey statue Scales of Justice

This week people are talking about the end of the super-injunction.

These are orders made by courts in the UK which ban - or gag - any mention of somebody's private life in newspapers, or in TV and radio broadcasts. In recent years several high-profile people - footballers, actors, TV personalities have asked the courts to block stories about their private lives. This means that newspapers and broadcasters are not allowed to publish any information about these stories or allegations.

But, in an age of social networking, it is very difficult to control what people want to talk about. Yesterday an unnamed tweeter posted several tweets in quick succession making claims about different celebrities who may or may not have asked for injunctions from courts. The fact that they are super-injunctions means you can't even talk about whether or not someone may have asked for one.

People who use Twitter are warned about following the law but take no responsibility themelves for what people write.

Tell us what you think? Should people be able to stop stories about their private lives being published? Or are there times when it is in the public interest to know if a married person may have had an affair with someone else for example? Do we have the right to talk about what we want to on social networks, even if they can be seen by other people?

People are now talking about privacy laws. Are there strict laws about privacy in your country? Should everyone have the right to privacy? Or are there times when it is in the public interest to publish stories about people in the public eye - politicians, actors, celebrities? And please don't write about particular celebrities - our messages will be removed.


super-injunction - court order banning all public mention of a person's private life
gag - stop somebody from talking, or in this case publishing
high-profile - well-known
allegations - claims that somebody has done something
tweeter - somebody who sends a tweet on Twitter
in quick succession - one after the other very quickly
in the public interest - legal term, meaning for the good of everyone
in the public eye - somebody well known to the public, a celebrity or politician


  • Comment number 1.

    Dear Alice,

    Good day to you.

    You have asked a very difficult question to answer as It seems that it is very tough to control such things like exploring the personal life of high profile and I wonder to know that will it be possible to control about high profile in these times when everyone including me anxious to know more and more about their ideal personalities.

    I think it’s very difficult to stop allegations on celebrities and it seems really below the belt that if social network disallow about free hand discussion on, Twitter and other similar sites are totally in the public interest where people from each corner of the world can share their opinion, attitude, thoughts openly without any worry.

    As far as imposition super-injunction in our country is concern I think it is impossible but can possible about politician as you know they are very strong and innocent media are hand less in front of them. However celebrities are on the hit list or anyone can say much-loved topic to discuss without any restriction.

    Best regards,

  • Comment number 2.

    Nowadays, everyone can access the internet. Social Networking is so popular, as one can reach even on their mobile phones very easily. It is obvious that as a nature of human being, a person is more interested in pitfalls of other person. Because of this attitude and to promote themselves, media gather information about private lives of high profile persons, politicians and put them out to public.

    It is well known fact that people are enthusiastic to know about famous people lives, but there should be a limit they can peep in to their personal life and make it public. Certain issues can give disasters to their relationships. I don’t think it is sensible to talk about their personal life on internet or any media. I think it is rather better to focus on their achievements and how they worked on them.

    In my country, when I watch Television or read a newspaper there are loads of similar issues which I come across. Media can just make up a big film on getting in to or breaking down of relationship in between celebrities. They broadcast each move of them. People got used to these kinds of gossips. It is really important that mind set of people need to change. Personally I believe everyone should have privacy. Media should keep in mind about responsibility to protect privacy of every person and stop publishing allegations which can violate someone’s privacy.

  • Comment number 3.

    Dear Alice,

    Good day!

    It is really very tricky question to be answered. We all hope to respect the privacy of the high-profile, celebrities and ever between each other, but the problem that you really can not control what is being posted whether on Twitter or Facebook or any other social network in general.

    In my point of view more strict laws should be issued to punish who involve in the privacy of other people, specially if it is regarding abusing to particular people.

    Best regards,

  • Comment number 4.

    Hello !

    Nowadays it is actually easy to have access on what people, and especially famous people, are doing , are eating, or where they are! Indeed every people can tweet about people on Tweeter, but I believe the issue is the paparrazzi.

    Every people have the right to privacy. However, I believe it can be a good thing to reveal some news about politicians, and other if it involves issueq of money, and other scandals like " WaterGate" whereas "monicagate" are not necessary I think !

    In France, famous people are more protected. Indeed, I have watched some documentaries on the gutter press in UK. In France celebrities are very protected. If a high-profile has his photo by walking whithout agreement, also celebrity can take press to court, and win the lawsuit !

    Best regards,


  • Comment number 5.

    Good day Alice!
    I think that privacy is important and we should all do our best to take care of this aspect of society. However, this does not only concern celebrities. I have grown up in a small village and people like to talk about other people. Sometimes about what they have achieved, other times about what they have done wrong (or of what they think they have done wrong). I think that it is difficult to stop people from talking about other people and it would certainly be very complicated to enforce a law concerning this.
    In my opinion it is impossible to control what people talk about and tweet about, but we should try to promote tolerance and respect for each other and think about how we would react if it were our lives that suddenly were all over Twitter without our consent. Would you like it? I know I would not!

    Best regards

  • Comment number 6.

    Hello Karimerstad, Emily, Rhino, EnglishLearner and Bana. It's great to discuss this topic with you. I wonder if anyone has successfully prosecuted [taken to court, start legal proceedings against...] someone who has written a negative tweet about them on Twitter?

    This case at the moment, about the leader of the IMF is very interesting Emily. I've heard quite a few commentators talking about the situation in France and how this varies from other places in the world where privacy is less respected.

    I suppose we should also talk about people who 'court publicity' - they actually employ people to promote them, and try and get journalists to write about them in newspapers or magazines.

    Anyway it's good to read your views.

    Best wishes


  • Comment number 7.

    Hello Alice !

    The case of DSK is totally sticking to the subject: in France some photo of the leader of the IMF taking out the courthouse has been very commented on !
    Some politicians and journalists think that these photo do not respect the presumption of innocence. They also believe that it affected the humanity of DSK !

    I am not going to write about this controversial case; the nearly future will tell us what is right !

  • Comment number 8.

    Dear Alice,
    How are you in these days? I could not see your recent blogs and I hope you are ok there and keep in touch as before.

  • Comment number 9.

    Hello Alice!
    My English not good, but I try represent my opinion.

    I agree with other comment, that it is not simple question. And I remember film "The People vs. Larry Flynt" who's central theme is "what is freedom of words?". What may print in magazine, and, what more difficult, it what is my opinion?

    Also we have any question of other like. Where end my privacy live and began social live? Many of these question don't have one answer. It have culture specialty, social, political and even family and himself feature. As himself that public/privacy modify by all live.

    In the end I want tell about my friend, we have same talk about social networking, Vkontakte (it is Russian facebook). Same month ago he stopped updating his page. And when i ask him "Why?", he tell that it is terrible!!! Every one may find you profile, read what you like, and what you contrary. Where you spend, and where you work and etc.

    I think that he very sticked with his profile. It is only in his mind. And i think that he have some problem to difference where privacy line started. And it is not only in Internet. I think that Internet give him advise: look in you live, difference where you, where you family, where you friend, where you is:).

    Best wishes,
    P.S.: May be in this message I break privacy live of my friend? I don't now, but in ever case I excuse me:))

  • Comment number 10.

    ithink its impossible to stop these stories because all peopl wonted to now every thing about all high-profil people.
    ofcourse no one have the right to speak about any one but in these sites like twitter and facebook any one could write any thing .

  • Comment number 11.

    It's so sad to talk about laws tring to prevent any kind of a dialogues, but i beleive this is return us to new crisis we an exceeding 19th century secularism and translate a private to general as a religion in a past time if we follow a writing as that we are going to lay basses for those value to life with us .


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