by Mike Masnick
Tue, Feb 19th 2008 1:31pm
A former Lord Chancellor in the UK (who was in charge of running the legal system, apparently) is suggesting that on certain important lawsuits, news organizations be forced not to report on the case and to remove any articles in archives that could influence the case, as he's worried about the articles influencing the outcome. This, of course, is similar to the story we were discussing yesterday, where a California court forced Wikileaks offline so it wouldn't influence a Swiss lawsuit. Of course, the response to that should be instructive of what would happen in the UK. Almost immediately, people started mirroring the content and making sure it was widely available. In fact, the very effort of trying to hide that content drove much more attention to it -- something that should come as no surprise to those familiar with the Streisand Effect. Also, thanks to the internet, where anyone can effectively report on any topic, it's impossible to see how the UK would successfully ban and block any reports on these particular cases. Sure, it's nice in theory to say that you don't want reporting that would influence the outcome of a case. Unfortunately, reality is unlikely to cooperate with that theory.
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