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Gagging the Guardians

Gagging the Guardians

Issue 62 November 2009

The biggest journalism story of the month was an anonymous company’s attempt to gag the Guardian newspaper.


The saga itself only lasted a few hours, but dominated discussions in media circles for weeks – and may yet lead to changes in the legal system. It started with a question in the House of Commons. A Labour MP had tabled a question in parliament about Trafigura, a commodities company, and the alleged dumping of toxic waste in Ivory Coast, a small West African nation.

Lawyers acting for the company took out an injunction forbidding the newspaper from reporting the question, which MP asked the question, which minister might answer the question and even where the question might be found. It got worse. The Guardian was, it wrote, “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.”
Ultimately the gag failed,.....................  


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