UK Continues To Censor The Press: Orders Wall Street Journal To Pull Details From Already Published Story

from the no-freedom-of-the-press dept

The UK’s <a href=”’>fight against a free press continues. As we’ve discussed in the past, the UK has this bizarre rule in which courts issue broad injunctions that try to silence the press from naming names of people accused of crimes. Given that, a court apparently ordered the Wall Street Journal to remove the names of bankers the WSJ had noted were expected to be named as being involved in the criminal manipulation of the LIBOR rate:

A British judge ordered the Journal and David Enrich, the newspaper’s European banking editor, to comply with a request by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office prohibiting the newspaper from publishing names of individuals not yet made public in the government’s ongoing investigation into alleged manipulation of the London interbank offered rate, or Libor.

The order, which applies to publication in England and Wales, also demanded that the Journal remove “any existing Internet publication” divulging the details. It threatened Mr. Enrich and “any third party” with penalties including a fine, imprisonment and asset seizure.

Except, as the Journal notes, it had already published the story out on the wire, and while it took down its own web story, and is protesting the injunction, it’s not at all difficult to find other stories that published the names:

In Friday’s U.S. edition of the newspaper, 11 names were printed, including former UBS AG (NYSE:UBS) and Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) trader Tom Hayes; his former boss at UBS, Michael Pieri; and two former brokers at R.P. Martin Holdings Ltd., Terry Farr and James Gilmour.

And, of course, anyone who got the print version, which had already gone to press, could see the names as well:

And, in the end, all this has really done is draw that much more attention to the names.

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Comments on “UK Continues To Censor The Press: Orders Wall Street Journal To Pull Details From Already Published Story”

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MikeC (profile) says:

Court Stupid - WSJ borderline criminal ....

I see a problem with the order, they are shutting the barn door after the horses were let out by the “dickheads at the WSJ” who published a story saying folks might be named. Now that they decided to just smear people on rumor and innuendo … the court order is stupid, but the WSJ is criminal. If the names in question had been charged, no problem but that they might be charged is just rumor mongering – then again it’s the WSJ a tome basically built on rumor mongering!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Court Stupid - WSJ borderline criminal ....

Agreed, It is bad form from press to roll named individuals in tar and feather with only rumours of a possible future trial to show for. It is very problematic for the innocent people who will inevitably be targeted! While the innocents will be able to sue the press on defamation, they will be pretty much blackballed by everyone who read the original story and even after winning such trials the doubt will still stick to them.

The problem here is that the court orders extend also include censorship instead of only a warning about future stories.

Anonymous Coward says:

if i had caused some sort of financial problem, like robbing a bank, my name would be plastered over every front page possible. what gives these people the right to anonymity? they did far more damage than i could ever have done!
then to threaten with prison etc, has this UK judge actually got a full ticket? they’re acting as stupid as those in the USA!!

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: UK gone mad.

Because desperate, poor, frightened people swing right when they appear to offer leadership and a way out of the crisis.

Please bear in mind that much of the crisis was manufactured by the far right by minimizing regulation of Wall St. and the banks in the first place and knocking holes you could drive a Hummer through in the Constitution.

Meanwhile, the UK Conservative Party appears to be turning into the US Republican Party (Tea Party version), with predictable results.

jameshogg says:

Here in the U.K., we have just seen police officers lie about “pleb” comments while the IPCC does hardly anything to chase it up.

But yet people are still deluded into thinking that similar independent regulation set up with the press will stop phone hacking… phone hacking that the police were complicit in. There is a reason why not as much fury is aimed at the police in relation to this issue: people do not want to admit the police have an independent body that keeps them “accountable”. Need I even mention Hillsborough?

And that is on top of the even more insane delusion that it will stop tabloid readers from engaging in their sadomasochistic drivel.

You should have seen the way in which the Guardian’s commenters were defending the royal charter in the articles (royal charter… ROYAL?! Fucking monarchy strikes again!)… a charter that would have put more pressure on the paper to be silent about Snowden’s leaks on top of what they did to David Miranda. Their attitude is disgraceful.

I really do wish our society would take the values of the First Amendment as seriously as you guys in the U.S. do, and actually fucking get a Constitution.

Anonymous Coward says:

First Amendment

No, publication of names of suspects is proper *if* the article spells out that the individuals are only suspects.

The public has a right to know the information.
The presumption of innocence only applies to government action — not to public discussion in newspapers.

In other words, it sucks to be a suspect, but there is no right to avoid publicity.

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