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Kelvin MacKenzie: Online makes mockery of super injunctions

May 3rd, 2011Posted by in Broadcasting, Editors' pick, Legal

Technology is “making fools” of high court judgements in relation to injunctions, according to former editor of the Sun Kelvin Mackenzie.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 Today on Saturday, reflecting on Andrew Marr’s revelation last week that he had taken out a super-injunction to protect his family’s privacy, Mackenzie said there should not be any such protections afforded.

I am in favour of free speech. We get ourselves in a shocking situation now where there’s a sort of two-track society. There’s those of us who know what the allegations are and all the names of all the famous people, which are basically media folk, and there are the rest of the public who are denied of knowing.

He added that the “explosion” of the online world means allegations are instead just being published on sites based outside the US.

Allegedly intelligent high court judges … have absolutely no common sense on this issue or an understanding of how technology is making fools of their judgements.

Also speaking on the show was Desmond Browne QC, a member of the special committee set up by Lord Neuberger to examine the use of media injunctions by the courts.

I think there’s a substantial difference between someone who knows the name being able to go on Wikipedia, seeing that there has been a redaction and making a conclusion as a result, and something being plastered all over the front page of the Sun or the Daily Mail and I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect the courts to simply give up in the face of something that may be accessible on the web.

On Sunday the Observer published a debate between Max Mosley, the former chief of Formula One who previously won damages of £60,000 from the News of the World for breach of privacy, and John Kampfner, chief executive of Index on Censorship, on the very issue of super-injunctions.

Mosley is currently trying to get the UK law changed in favour of “prior notification” before a newspaper publishes allegations about an individual. Speaking in the debate Kampfner claimed that if Mosley’s law succeeds “it will set back the cause of free speech by decades”.

Read the full debate here…

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