Injunction fails to stop footballer affair reporting - Press Gazette

Injunction fails to stop footballer affair reporting

The Daily Mirror and the Daily Mail went into details about a footballer’s extra-marital affair today after a dramatic day of developments in the furore over anonymised privacy injunctions.

Both titles have also published photos of the players’ children while The Sun has been more cautious in its reports generally and also pixelated photos showing the childrens’ faces.

Yesterday MP John Hemming used parliamentary privilege to name Ryan Giggs as the footballer at the centre of a Twitter privacy row.

He said: ‘With about 75,000 people having named Ryan Giggs on Twitter, it is obviously impracticable to imprison them all.”

News organisations hesitated before reporting his comments – made at around 3.30pm yesterday in the House of Commons.

The Neuberger committee on super-injunctions, led by the most senior judges in the country, warned last week that the law was unclear about whether the reporting of comments made by MPs in apparent breach of legal injunctions would be protected from prosecution for contempt of court.

Sky News went first – about 15 minutes after the comments were first made – and other major news organisations soon followed, with Press Association putting out a report naming Ryan Giggs at around 5pm.

The plot thickened at 6.30pm when The Sun failed at a third attempt to persuade the High Court to overturn an injunction preventing it from naming a footballer who had an affair with former Big Brother star Imogen Thomas

Mr Justice Tugendhat said: “As the public now know, anyone who wanted to find out the name of the claimant could have learned it many days ago.

“The reason is that it has been repeated thousands of times on the internet, and News Group Newspapers now want to join in.

“It is obvious if the purpose of the injunction were to preserve a secret it would have failed.

“But insofar as its purpose is to prevent intrusion or harassment, it has not failed.”

The injunction had not protected the claimant and his family from taunting on the internet, but it could still protect them from “taunting in the print media” – he said.

Giving his reasons for upholding the Imogen Thomas affair-man injunction last week – Mr Justice Eady said there was evidence that the man was effectively being ‘blackmailed’saying that Thomas had requested payment of £100,000 from him and that she was talking to The Sun newspaper. Thomas has denied this.