Trafigura and the super-injunction

On 12 october, 2009 the Guardian newspaper published a front-page story explaining that they were not allowed to report a question posed in Parliament regarding the oil trader Trafigura. 

This was the beginning of a national scandal which involved journalists, web users and MPs.  

The Guardian has this article online which explains how the story, which Trafigura never wanted to be told, was broke.

Trafigura’s lawyers, Carter-Ruck, had gone to court to have an emergency super-injuction imposed against the Guardian to prevent them from publishing details about the Minton report. The report had been commissioned in 2006 by Trafigura to investigate a toxic-dumping incident on the Ivory Coast.

This super-injunction gagged the Guardian from saying what the injunction was about altogether. It effectively attempted to make the whole thing a secret.

The Guardian explains the whole episode better than I can but basically the front-page story published by the Guardian caused a huge backlash of activity from bloggers and other web users. People wanted to find out what it was that the Guardian were unable to talk about.

Twitter was incredibly busy with thousands of people posting tags such as “Minton report”, “Trafigura” and “Carter-Ruck”. Within the space of a few hours more and more people were finding out what had happened.

In part due to web users, other newspapers and more MPs becoming informed, the super-injunction was lifted on 16 October, 2009 after Carter-Ruck announced that the Guardian should “treat these orders as discharged”. Carter-Ruck’s attempt at gagging the Guardian on reporting parliamentary proceedings had failed.

The Guardian has now been able to publish the details of the super-injunction. More questions have been raised regarding the freedom of the press and what else could still be remaining secret away from the eyes of the public…

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