McKennitt denies privacy ruling is 'suppressing journalism'

Folk singer Loreena McKennitt won her two-year privacy battle to remove personal information from a book about her today at the High Court.

Niema Ash has agreed to not publish a new edition of her book “Travels with Loreena McKennett and pay “substantial costs”.

McKennitt first gained an injunction against the book when it was published in 2005 on grounds of breach of confidence. Ash’s appeal against the injunction failed and offending passages of the book – which are published in the US and Canadian editions – were removed by publishers.

A second, amended edition was published in 2005 after the ruling but McKennitt again applied successfully for an interim injunction against it. Ash’s petition to appeal against the injunction in was turned down in April this year.

The case is seen as significant because McKennitt’s lawyers argued that the duty of confidence arose from Ash’s friendship with McKennitt.

In a statement made in open court today, Desmond Browne QC said: ‘Ms McKennitt took the view that even in its amended form, the book still seriously intruded on her legitimate right to privacy, and that it fell foul of the injunction granted by the Court at the end of 2005.

‘In these circumstances Ms McKennitt feels she has achieved her objective in protecting the human right she shares with others to a private life, and welcomes the settlement which has been achieved.”

Loreena McKennitt, currently on tour in US, issued a statement defending her lengthy legal battle to change the book’s content and said she had not sought to censor journalism.

She said: ‘I passionately believe that if an aspect of one’s career places one directly in the public eye or if extraordinary events make an ordinary person newsworthy for a time, we all still should have the basic human dignity of privacy for our home and family life. At the end of this long process, privacy law has been developed and built upon.

‘I would like to thank those journalists who have reported on this matter fairly and accurately. This was never a case about suppressing journalistic investigation of matters of genuine public interest, but about protection from publication of deeply intrusive material about my private life and my private grief.”

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