As I wrote yesterday the footballer involved in the injunction case against Imogen Thomas was a fool. Twitter is widely used but to say it has the audience of the majority of people in the UK is foolish. By suing twitter for allowing his name to be mentioned it brought the story into the mainstream domain and it was only a matter of time before a big media outlet thought ‘sod it’ and named him. The Sunday Herald yesterday did not but had a photograph of Ryan Giggs on the front page and made it clear who it was.
So we move on just over 24 hours and John Hemming Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley used Parliamentary Privilege to name him and suddenly the gates are wide open. Sky News are reporting the incident plus his name whereas the BBC are still trying to clarify where they stand legally reporting on House of Commons proceedings.
Now I am torn. I am a trained journalist (I know can you believe it with my lack of English skills?) and had to pass Journalism Law to get said degree. Therefore I know all about Contempt of Court and what was going on with this. On one hand I think that Imogen Thomas can sell her story to the highest bidder as long as whatever she sells is the truth but I also respect the right for Ryan Giggs to have his privacy on this case. So it is a case of who has the greater right – Thomas to sell her story or Giggs for his right to privacy. They are mutually exclusive and clearly in my mind cancel each other out.
There was talk that Imogen Thomas was blackmailing Ryan Giggs and that is why the injunction was granted. This though is not backed up by any steadfast evidence as yet. What I do struggle with is the fact that Ryan Giggs was absolved from the case but Imogen Thomas and her representatives including Max Clifford were allowed to be reported. So Imogen Thomas had her name out there with regards to the affair, she was unable to defend herself in any way in a public setting. So Ryan Giggs was letting her dangle as some harlot whilst he hid behind an injunction.
I am deeply torn. Deeply and gravely torn. I think when all is said and done the injunction was fairly granted but the way Ryan Giggs has handled the situation shows a lack of nous and understanding for the way the public feel. The moment his name was out there he should have dropped the injunction and dealt with the fall out. Continuing to go further and starting proceedings against twitter was never going to go down well and if his advisors didn’t tell him this then they are just thinking about their self-interest and making money off of the Manchester United player.
I do think that John Hemming has abused Parliamentary Privilege as this case is not a story that is in the legitimate Public Interest. It is celebrity tittle-tattle and this is not a Trafigura situation. When it comes down to it unless there is a case where you could say that a story is in the Public and/or National Interest then the right to privacy is at least level to that of freedom of speech and therefore injunctions should be allowed.
Still though Ryan Giggs has been terribly advised and instead of being front page for a day or two and then chip shop paper he has allowed the story to run and run and has dragged his name through the mud for far longer than it ever would have done.
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