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Cheers - AE

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Keeping a low media profile - epic fail.

Detritus watched Otto roll around on the cobbles screaming.
'What was dat about?' he said, eventually.
'He's taken a picture of you not letting me into the palace,' said William.
Detritus, although born above the snowline on some distant mountain, a troll who'd never seen a human until he was five years old, nevertheless was a policeman to his craggy, dragging fingertips and reacted accordingly.
'He can't do dat,' he said.
William pulled out his notebook and poised his pencil. 'Could you explain to my readers exactly why not?' he said.
Detritus looked around, a little worried. 'Where are dey?'
'No, I mean I'm going to write down what you say.'
Basic policing rushed to Detritus's aid once again. 'You can't do dat,' he said.
'Then can I write down why I can't write anything down?' William said, smiling brightly.
Detritus reached up and moved a little lever on the side of his helmet. A barely audible whirring noise became fractionally louder. The troll had a helmet with a clockwork fan, to blow air across his silicon brain when overheating threatened to reduce its operating efficiency. Right now he obviously needed a cooler head.
'Ah. Dis is some kind of politics, right?' he said.
The Truth - Terry Pratchett

You'd imagine that the Streisand Effect would be fairly well known by now, and even if it wasn't for her it seems like common sense that drawing attention to something you want to keep quiet by yelling at everyone to shut up about is sometimes counter productive. People are curious and tend to come along to see what all the shouting is about. This lesson has obviously been missed by Trafigura and their law firm, Carter-Ruck (or Carter-Fuck as Private Eye readers will know it), and as a result they are the latest addition to the Wikipedia page on the Streisand Effect. Why? Well, The Grauniad put it like this:
Guardian gagged from reporting parliament.
Oh, so the little people aren't allowed to report on the goings on of Westminster to the even littler people? Sure, there's always Hansard but most people don't have the time to go trawling through that, so a major newspaper being gagged is a big deal.
The Guardian has been prevented from reporting parliamentary proceedings on legal grounds which appear to call into question privileges guaranteeing free speech established under the 1688 Bill of Rights.

Today's published Commons order papers contain a question to be answered by a minister later this week. The Guardian is prevented from identifying the MP who has asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question is to be found.

The Guardian is also forbidden from telling its readers why the paper is prevented – for the first time in memory – from reporting parliament. Legal obstacles, which cannot be identified, involve proceedings, which cannot be mentioned, on behalf of a client who must remain secret.

The only fact the Guardian can report is that the case involves the London solicitors Carter-Ruck, who specialise in suing the media for clients, who include individuals or global corporations.
Now The Graun is not my favourite paper but I have to take the cork decorated bush hat off to them. If you can't write what you want to write then writing that you can't write what you want to write is almost as good, especially when you know that bloggers like Guido and others will start sniffing, shortly followed by an avalanche of Tweets on the subject. Yeah, go on Carter-Ruck, chuck that snowball, it'll be fine.


So now the cat's out of the bag and Carter-Ruck are cornered. Result, I started thinking about what to write but the gag was lifted way before I got there.

Carter-Ruck 0 - 1 Teh Interwebs

Now the question for Carter-Ruck is how to bill a client for the epic fail of drawing vast amounts more attention to what they wanted kept quiet by attempting to prevent the reporting of a Parliamentary question that would have gone largely unnoticed had they simply done nothing at all.

UPDATE - More at Old Holborn.

UPDATE 2 - Nice Star Wars reference at Mr Eugenides.

1 comment:

JuliaM said...

"Now the question for Carter-Ruck is how to bill a client for the epic fail of drawing vast amounts more attention to what they wanted kept quiet..."

They're lawyers. I'm confident they'll find some way to do it!

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