A rather slow response to some big issues this week. It seems that freedom of speech has triumphed over private interest, this time. Charlie Brooker summed it up nicely (or not so nicely, it’s why we love him) in this Monday’s Guardian, where there’s more on the Trafigura – Carter Ruck – The Guardian – the twittersphere and the very seat of our democracy imbroglio, which has far-reaching implications for everyone.
The burning question is: if so many hoops had to be jumped through to get this story out into the public domain, what about all of the others that never saw the light of day? We all know that big business can do bad things, sometimes just as a simple result of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing and sometimes, more sinisterly, because a calculated risk has been taken and collateral damage and a spot of bad PR is outweighed by the sight of the share price graph pointing upwards.
One of the cornerstones of journalism is the principle of the public interest. It’s true that this has been abused by bad journalists in pursuit of a juicy story, but bringing dodgy dealings to light, informing opinion and sometimes, let’s face it, paving the way for justice, these are fundamental to good journalism. So why would the judiciary want to get involved in the stifling of a potential ally? And what would have happened if the tweeters hadn’t got involved, or if Paul Farelly MP hadn’t been prepared to ask the right questions? He doesn’t mention this at all on his web site for reasons that will no doubt become clear before too long.
Trafigura’s press office, in a spirit of transparency, finally stated that the report in question was an old and incomplete one, not based on any actual samples taken. There’s an interesting footnote to this story, one not mentioned in dispatches – The Guardian have, apparently, contributed to the costs of the injunction. Now there’s another story for another day.