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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Row grows over gag

The row over the Guardian being gagged from reporting a Parliamentary Question due for answer this week due to court proceedings has been growing apace since #trafigura and #CarterRuck became trending topics on Twitter last night.

The Guardian is now reporting that within the past few hours the legal firm, Carter-Ruck, has withdrawn its opposition to the Guardian reporting proceedings in parliament that revealed the existence of a previously secret injunction against the media by oil traders Trafigura.

Labour MP Paul Farrelly put down a question yesterday to the justice secretary, Jack Straw. It asked about the injunction obtained by "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".

The Guardian say that it was due to appear at the High Court at 2pm to challenge Carter-Ruck's behaviour, but the firm has dropped its claim that to report parliament would be in contempt of court.

The BBC report that Liberal Democrats were particularly prominent in challenging this ruling:

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg wrote on the social networking website Twitter he was very concerned about the issue.

His party's parliamentary spokesman David Heath tabled an urgent request to Commons Speaker John Bercow to ask Justice Secretary Jack Straw for a statement on the prevention of reporting of parliamentary proceedings.

Lib Dem chief whip Paul Burstow also requested, under Commons standing orders, an urgent debate on "the freedom to report on Parliamentary proceedings".

Despite the fact that legal proceedings have been dropped this matter should not be allowed to rest. Parliamentary privilege needs to be protected from such moves in the future as the last bulwark of freedom of speech in this country.
Well done to the Guardian on being able to report on Trafigura issue raised in parliament.38 Degrees are currently running a campaign on this. Take action now by emailing your MP and asking them to not let this happen again. Take action now, it only takes 2 mins. Go to:

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