Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Finally we all know it's Ryan Giggs

After weeks of knowing, I can finally write on my blog that Ryan Giggs is the footballer at the centre of the privacy super-injunction story.

Talk about a story that refuses to go away. It’s about time his name was revealed, its been dragging on for too long, it was getting ridiculous.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been telling people I heard it was Ryan Giggs, and at the same time other people were telling me the same thing. The injunction was essentially becoming irrelevant.

What I’ve found fascinating about this story is seeing how the law is struggling to keep pace with a changing media landscape and the rise of social media.

Thousands of people were happy to name Giggs on Twitter and break the injunction. It’s gossip that’s taking place in the public domain. There’s not much a super injunction can do about it.

I have to say I like it – it’s quite anarchic.

Related blogs

Nothing Super about super - injunctions

I’ve got nothing against Ryan Giggs, I do have a great deal of respect for him. He’s been an exceptional player and professional for 20 years, but he’s made a mistake with this injunction.

There are so many issues that this story raises, one of those being that although the traditional media were prevented form reporting the name of Ryan Giggs, his name was being mentioned all over twitter.

10 years ago, people would have been talking about Giggs in the office, down the pub, or in the privacy of their homes. But now in the age of social media, this private gossip is now being played out in the public domain.

If thousands of people are all breaking an injunction is the law going to prosecute all of those people. How do you prosecute gossip?

I was tempted to mention Giggs’ name on my blog a few weeks ago, but having had training in media law I thought better of it. I understand that I can’t just publish and say anything I want on my blog.

The problem that the law has with social media is that thousands of people out there have no knowledge of interest in the legal consequences of publishing their thoughts on social networks. I don’t know how lawyers would be able to act against so many people.

Now today I’ve read in the London Evening Standard that four celebrities who mentioned Giggs’ name on twitter could face legal action. The Four are Piers Morgan, Dom Joly, Toby Young and DJ Boy George.

Why should they face legal action? Is it just because they’re famous and they can be legally identified?

This story is going to run and run. It’s amazing to think that what would appear to be just another footballer ‘kiss and tell’ story, is now potentially going to be a landmark case in relation to our privacy laws and the ways of media can report on the rich and famous.

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