The Guardian has overturned an extraordinary injunction which banned it from reporting a question tabled by an MP in Parliament.
The paper revealed on its front page today that it had been banned from reporting the question due to: “Legal obstacles, which cannot be identified, involving proceedings, which cannot be mentioned, on behalf of a client who must remain secret.”
The report prompted a revolt on the social networking site Twitter where many users pointed out that the injunction had been brought by oil traders Trafigura.
Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger ‘tweeted’ today: “Victory! Carter Ruck caves-in. No Guardian court hearing. Media can now report Paul Farrelly’s PQ about Trafigura.
“Thanks to Twitter/all tweeters for fantastic support over past 16 hours! Great victory for free speech.”
The Parliamentary question which Trafigura tried to stop the media reporting, via lawyers Carter Ruck, was tabled by Labour MP Farrelly to justice secretary Jack Straw.
He asks Straw: ‘â€¦what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of legislation to protect (a) whistleblowers and (b) press freedom following the injunctions obtained in the High Court by (i) Barclays and Freshfields solicitors on 19 March 2009 on the publication of internal Barclays reports documenting alleged tax avoidance schemes and (ii) Trafigura and Carter-Ruck solicitors on 11 September 2009 on the publication of the Minton report on the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, commissioned by Trafigura.”
In the same way that last night’s injunction was widely flouted online, the Minton report is also easy to find online using a search engine.