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Friday 30 October 2009

The many moods of @pauloCanning

Twitter has started its mass roll out of lists and I just created my first of public sector people (and hangers on) I follow.

I laughed out loud when I clicked through to see I'd been already added onto 28 existing lists - and what those list titles are. According to some of my followers, I am alternately:
  • international
  • technology
  • gov-and-local-gov 
  • egov 
  • publicsector 
  • accessibility 
  • tech 
  • militant-gays 
  • gov2010 
  • techpolitics 
  • localgoveratti 
  • social-networkers 
  • techies 
  • work 
  • ukgov20 
  • localgovgeeks 
  • skeptics 
  • localgovweb 
  • socialmedia 
  • publicsector 
  • localgov-ish 
  • epicvisionaries 
  • politics 
  • media 
  • accessibility 
  • public-sector 
  • it 
  • gov-uk
Keep 'em guessing is obviously a winning stratagem :]

Lists are really useful for finding others around a specific topic. is a good place to find ones already created and there's ones for top egovernment people, government bodies etc.

The one I've created for UK public sector workers and contractors I grew through following links to other's lists in this area. Listorious has several others created around the 'government' theme.

I haven't analysed this but I've noticed that from following my list others have added people found there to their following and hence made connections which they might not otherwise have made.

Monday 26 October 2009

Twitter insights: Blaine Cooke @ teacamp

This is the video I shot (with hand-held Flash camera, someone tweeted about how I managed to keep my hand up for an hour) of one of Twitter's creators, Blaine Cooke, visiting Teacamp, a gathering of Whitehall webbies and hangers on.

Cooke kindly spent a hour answering questions about Twitter - where it came from, is now and where it's heading to. In other words, lots of insider knowledge

Sunday 18 October 2009

The fun theory

Volkswagen have launched a left-field marketing campaign through a Swedish agency dedicated, they say, "to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better."

The two videos released for it so far are very original and have gone viral.

Alongside them they're launching a competition about "finding fun ways to change behaviour".

Apparently 'fun theory' is serious:
Fun Theory is the field of knowledge that deals in questions such as "How much fun is there in the universe?", "Will we ever run out of fun?", "Are we having fun yet?" and "Could we be having more fun?"

Fun Theory is serious business. The prospect of endless boredom is routinely fielded by conservatives as a knockdown argument against research on lifespan extension, against cryonics, against all transhumanism, and occasionally against the entire Enlightenment ideal of a better future.

Many critics (including George Orwell) have commented on the inability of authors to imagine Utopias where anyone would actually want to live. If no one can imagine a Future where anyone would want to live, that may drain off motivation to work on the project. But there are some quite understandable biases that get in the way of such visualization.

Fun Theory is also the fully general reply to religious theodicy (attempts to justify why God permits evil). Our present world has flaws even from the standpoint of such eudaimonic considerations as freedom, personal responsibility, and self-reliance. Fun Theory tries to describe the dimensions along which a benevolently designed world can and should be optimized, and our present world is clearly not the result of such optimization - there is room for improvement. Fun Theory also highlights the flaws of any particular religion's perfect afterlife - you wouldn't want to go to their Heaven.

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Saturday 17 October 2009

Now here’s an idea …

Notes on #janmoir - don't 'blame' Fry

I've seen a few media reports now on yesterday's unprecedented new media revolt against the Daily Mail.

Of all of them the Huffington Post's takes the biscuit for 'worst take'. They reckon it's about a fight between the Daily Mail and The Guardian. Seriously. I suspect a showbizzy intern selected their quote heavy, googled contribution.

A meme in practically all the reports is the role of Stephen Fry. This has now culminated in a Telegraph piece titled 'Don't laugh – Stephen Fry is giving the orders now.'
Those, like Fry, who are "deeply dippy about all things digital", argue that the internet is the ultimate tool of democracy. But it could just be that historians – if they are so permitted – might look back on this period as the moment when the techno-savvy few seized control of the minds of the many.
The blogger Guido Fawkes seems effectively to run British politics. Ashton Kutcher – actor and tweeter with over three million followers: "life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift" – is our spiritual leader. And Fry? Well, he's bigger than both of them.
Where to start? Iain Dale has a lot more blog traffic than Guido. Not sure what Kutcher's in there for save to keep the 'celeb's rule' idea going (and his Twitter following like that of other Hollywood celebs doesn't seem to translate to followers automatically watching their shows). And as for Fry?

I was actually dipping in-and-out of the #janmoir Twitter stream yesterday and very, very few of the tweets were Fry Retweets. Sure, his numbers are huge but the 'Twitosphere' is far, far, far huger. Presumably far too huge for most journalist's to get their minds around.

By 2010, 26 Million (1 in 7) U.S. Adults Will Use Twitter Monthly.

Edited to add: Thanks to to commentator Ian Hopkinson for pointing to some evidence.

Here's the trendastic tracking of #janmoir

Showing it peaking at 11am - @stephenfry first tweet on #janmoir was at 12:27pm.

What the ubiquitous Fry mentions in their reports are about is a journalistic laziness and the ever-present need for a celeb mention. A real piece of good work would be to actually track #janmoir all the way from where the first rock was thrown out to the furthest reach of the ripples.

Such as the excellent American analyst Evgeny Morozov's tweet:
notes on the new public sphere: Twitter has shrunk the Atlantic and purely local UK scandals are now global news
That's why HuffPost bothered putting Gately on the front page - #janmoir was number one or two trending topic when they woke up, and it had that celeb angle they love. 

It's notable that they've ignored what it by far the most game-changing event on Twitter this week, #trafigura - something which Gill Hornby in the Telegraph thinks is also down to Mr Fry.
From his palm-top device .. he struck a major blow for press freedom – when the Dutch company Trafigura won an order preventing the press from discussing the impact of its pollutants on the African coast, Fry tweeted the details to his vast audience and the gag was lifted.

Friday 16 October 2009

Jan Moir is a heterosexist

Now anyone whose reads me knows I like video .. So watch this ...

N'kay. All done?

Jan Moir is a Daily Mail columnist whose printed words have today caused her to reach for her boss' PR agency (because of an Internet revolt that Twitter was at the heart of that blew up the Press Complaints Commission's website) in order to say she's not what you think she is.

That is significant. Today was significant. Social media made this happen - apparently the Mail doesn't usually respond within hours to outrage at its contents.

But listen to what Richard Yates, from black experience, is telling you - focus on what they said, not who you think they are.

And this is very relevant to this situation. The Mail, and others, publish Moir's sort of rant all the time. In the official 'process' it will be judged on what she said, not who she is accused of being.

If what we want is what she (and others) write banished from the mainstream, not to silence but to place them firmly on the fringes, then how is that achieved?

How do we define her words? I ask, is what she wrote heterosexist or is it homophobic?

Cue Wikipedia:
Heterosexism is a term that applies to negative attitudes, bias, and discrimination in favor of opposite-sex sexuality and relationships. It can include the presumption that everyone is heterosexual or that opposite-sex attractions and relationships are the norm and therefore superior.
Homophobia (from Greek homós: one and the same; phóbos: fear, phobia) is defined as an "irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals", or individuals perceived to be homosexual; it is also defined as "unreasoning fear of or antipathy toward homosexuals and homosexuality", "fear of or contempt for lesbians and gay men", as well as "behavior based on such a feeling".
I don't think Jan Moir is about fear, she's about superiority. I think this because that's what she wrote.

Yates is laying out for us how, exactly, we undermine the sort of power which a Moir (there's a type) wields, especially including their power in claims of 'victim' or 'silencing'. Here's a template, from other minorities, which should be grasped in order to define her as 'fringe', 'extreme', someone who says she's superior.

Drop 'Moir is homophobic' for 'Moir is heterosexist'.

That's my contribution to the aftermath of today: Learn from others and be precise in attacking power.

Make them go look 'heterosexist' up and in the process completely change the coming debate over 'silencing free speech', the 'power of the mob' and the ubiquitous raising of that cop-out phrase 'PC'.

Thanks to Jamie Potter for inspiration.

Thursday 15 October 2009

Busting the climate deniers via Youtube

This post is my contribution to Blog Action Day

Youtube is really really really big. In the US searches on the site are around a quarter of all Google searches.

In this environment battles range as users debate issues via their own video creations whether via talking head to webcam or produced-up little films. Amongst the hot topics is climate change.

Peter Sinclair aka greenman3610 runs a graphic design and animation studio in Midland, MI and produces the very effectively done 'climate crock of the week' series. An activist and writer for 30 years in the areas of energy and environment, he is best placed to tear to shreds the sort of unscientific, unresearched nonsense on climate change which appears in the media frequently enough to feed a weekly series.

Battle, on Youtube, often involves DMCA, (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) claims against a video which usually results in it being removed from YouTube.

The DMCA, (Digital Millenium Copyright Act), was originally intended to protect copyright owners from internet abuse, but has systematically been used improperly, notoriously by authoritarian religious groups and cults (Scientologists) and people such as creationists, in order to restrain criticism and free speech on the internet.

This is what happened to Sinclair in July when he criticized and parodied the work of well known climate denier Anthony Watts, and his "" project.

Copyright law allows for critical review, parody, and transformational use of material.

Sinclair filed a 'counternotice' with Youtube, affirming, "under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of a mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled."

Two weeks later Youtube told him, "this content has been restored and your account will not be penalized."

What the silencing attempt resulted in was greater traffic and visibility for Sinclair's videos. This has also been the case with other great science defenders using Youtube, such as Thunderf00t, an English-expat who takes apart creationist.

In his latest piece Sinclair takes on how one of the world's most respected and experienced climate modelers, Mojib Latif's observations in September on natural climate variability were misinterpreted by climate change deniers.

Ironically, Latif's message was precisely that natural variations in the long term warming might be misinterpreted, by the media, out of ignorance or malice!

Earlier he took on Channel Four's unfortunately resonant film 'The Great Global Warming Swindle'.

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Wednesday 14 October 2009

Just how big is social media? Watch this

Gary Hayes from put together this very neat little widget which visualises the hyper-growth in usage of social media.

Tuesday 13 October 2009

Mugging the rich bastard lawyers

If the famous media gaggers, the libel law firm Carter-Ruck, scourge of Private Eye, thought they'd scored another famous victory (these guys are big on bragging) suppressing news they hadn't reckoned with social media.

#trafigura is as I type the #1 trending topic on Twitter (that's in the whole world). The Spectator has already broken the wall between what the blogs will say and what the print media thinks it can get away with ... and many, many more people are now aware of the very story a very rich set of bastards running a polluting company is paying them - presumably - many millions to kill.

In a few hours American bloggers will start picking up on the story enmasse. What's Carter-Ruck going to do then? As @ElrikMerlin just pointed out to me 'this is Streisand Effect in action' - something which I have blogged about before.

When Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov tried the same trick, and created the same effect, it generated this quote from Boris Johnson (one of those inadvertently whacked by Usmanov's 'take-down' action):
We live in a world where internet communication is increasingly vital, and this is a serious erosion of free speech.
This is what Carter-Ruck did:
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.
This feels like another significant turning point for social media.

My updates throughout today

Nick Clegg has tweeted 'Very interested concerned about this #trafigura / Guardian story the @LibDems are planning to take action on this'

Carter-Ruck to be Flash Mobbed.

Twitter panics over Trafigura:
Trafigura was deleted from trending topics, despite the fact it was obviously the top-trending topic. One minute it was top, the next it had vanished. Twitter’s trend explanations were also absent from any topics relating to Trafigura.

I don’t blame them, British libel laws are notorious for being swingeing, and Carter-Ruck’s efficacy in the area is well-know.
[#trafigua has now come back up trending topics]

@arusbridger #Guardian editor tweets: hoping to get into court today to challenge ban by #carterruck on reporting parliament. Watch this space

Wikileaks has updated on the report lying behind the attempted Guardian gag.

BBC finally reporting #guardiangag , fourteen hours after Guardian published.

Telegraph peeks out, surveys on #trafigura

Carter-Ruck are on Twitter (nb: could possibly be imposter). The tweets are unreal:
@carterruck is looking for a new slogan. "Defending the indefensible" #carterruckslogan
LibDems have tabled an urgent question.

The huge US liberal website Daily Kos is now onto #trafigura.
We want to put the Streisand Effect to work, and make hashtags #carterruck and especially #trafigura the top trending topics on Twitter. Please include these hashtags in your tweets of the next 24 hours.
First satirical take: Carter-Ruck successfully preserves Trafigura’s online reputation:
“We at Carter-Ruck are proud to be so effective in protecting such deserving clients, and look forward to working just as effectively for the reputations of similarly environmentally well-behaved companies around the globe,” said Carter-Ruck’s new directors of marketing George Monbiot and Julian Assange.
Guardian reports today's legal action by them.
MP, who Guardian is currently prohibited from identifying, said he would ask the Speaker to consider taking action against Carter-Ruck for contempt of parliament.

The media lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC said Lord Denning ruled in the 1970s that "whatever comments are made in parliament" can be reported in newspapers without fear of contempt.

He said: "Four rebel MPs asked questions giving the identity of 'Colonel B', granted anonymity by a judge on grounds of 'national security'. The DPP threatened the press might be prosecuted for contempt, but most published."

The right to report parliament was the subject of many struggles in the 18th century, with the MP and journalist John Wilkes fighting every authority – up to the king – over the right to keep the public informed. After Wilkes's battle, wrote the historian Robert Hargreaves, "it gradually became accepted that the public had a constitutional right to know what their elected representatives were up to".
Ungag the Guardian twibbon campaign.

Sky News Niall Paterson blogs:
Should there be any restrictions placed on the reporting and analysis of what is said (and written) in the Palace of Westminster? I'd argue not, save perhaps for those rare occasions when national security is truly at risk.

Yet this "sensitive" question appears on the Order Paper and the answer will appear in Hansard.

Gagged? This journalist is gagging at the court's decision.
@arusbridger Guardian Editor tweets: Victory! #CarterRuck caves-in. More soon on Guardian. No #Guardian court hearing. Media can now report Paul Farrelly's PQ re #Trafigura
Carter-Ruck now under attack on Google Maps
Guardian report on lifting of gag. commentary and background on past Carter-Ruck gagging attempts.

Number Ten petition to the Prime Minister:
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to enshrine in law the absolute right of the media to report the proceedings of The House in full at all times.
Plus campaign website on same set up:
Tell your MP to stand up for the media’s right to report on politicians in Westminster: e-mail them in two minutes, now.
BBC: Guardian claims victory on 'gag' :
Newsnight will report on this case and the prevalence of media laws being used by large companies to restrict information on Tuesday 13 October 2009 at 10.30pm on BBC Two.
BBC media correspondent Nick Higham for BBC website, When is a secret not a secret?:
In the anarchic, anything-goes world of the internet, where freedom of speech is a frequently heard rallying cry, injunctions banning publication of anything are unpopular. This one seems to have acted like a red rag to a bull.
Rupert Goodwins for ZDNet UK:
There is no doubt that the events of the past day have been profoundly democratic, entirely in keeping with the Bill of Rights' sweeping away of kingly powers and its assertion of the primacy of openness among the governors of the people. In a parallel universe, attempts to muzzle parliament might be seen as treasonable - but while we'll never have libel lawyers hearing the axe being sharpened in the Tower, the end result - a chilling effect on the silencers - is just as welcome, and welcomingly just.
Tweet from @wikileaks : Remember the UK press is STILL GAGGED from saying the toxic dumping report is on WikiLeaks HERE:

James Mackintosh for Financial Times, People power 1, Carter-Ruck and Trafigura 0:
Let’s hope Jack Straw, secretary of state for justice, listens: the trend towards ever-wider gagging orders gives big companies and the rich and powerful yet another way to strangle investigative journalism - as if the overly-restrictive libel and confidentiality laws were not bad enough.
Greenpeace blog on Trafigura:
Oil-trading company Trafigura knew that waste dumped in Ivory Coast in 2006 was hazardous.

Trafigura had persistently denied that the waste was harmful but internal e-mails show staff knew it was hazardous.
The chemical waste came from a ship called Probo Koala and in August 2006 truckload after truckload of it was illegally fly-tipped at 15 locations around Abidjan, the biggest city in Ivory Coast.

In the weeks that followed the dumping, tens of thousands of people reported a range of similar symptoms, including breathing problems, sickness and diarrhoea.
More Greenpeace background.
Mark Pack spots an unfortunate quote being served up on the Carter-Ruck homepage and says I think Carter-Ruck might be changing this quote, don’t you?.
NBC News' @AnnCurry tweets:
Victims of alledged toxic waste dumping by Trafigura Co. Its legal firm CarterRuck tried to stop this story:
Ian Douglas for the Telegraph, Context overcomes the law for Trafigura and the Guardian:
A search in Google News for Trafigura yielded the Guardian’s piece reporting the order, despite the word never being mentioned. So many people had linked to it using the name of the company that there was no need for the Guardian to break the order themselves, as the search engines determine the subject of a page by analysing those that link to it as much as the page itself.
Tweet from @BristleKRS:
Today's twictionary words: 1: to #CarterRuck up; vb tr, to fail in exponential relationship to invoiced fee
Tory Politico is reporting that The Independent has removed a story, published on September 17, relating to Trafigura’s dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast. The story is still available through the google cache of the page.

Techpresident, The Internet as Toxic Avenger: Trafigura and the Ungagging of the Guardian:
Here you can see how the gagging of the Guardian was rapidly overwhelmed by mentions of Trafigura on Twitter, via Trendistic.

BBC Newsnight [Video], Dirty tricks and toxic waste in Ivory Coast.

Philippe Naughton for the Times, Twitter-power wins gagging victory over Carter-Ruck and Trafigura:

"Wow," said one Twitterer among the deluge of comments. "Never heard of Trafigura before today."

Tweet from Guardian Editor @arusbridger : Now support #Newsnight which is being sued by #Trafigura and #carterRuck over toxic waste expose

[Via PoliticsHome]: In the Commons this afternoon, Speaker John Bercow was urged to block future legal attempts to prevent the reporting of parliament, or to curtail MPs parliamentary privilege to speak freely.

Labour MP Paul Farrelly, whose question regarding Trafigura was the subject of the gag, asked Mr Bercow to investigate whether the Trafigura's reprentatives, Carter Ruck, had acted in contempt of parliament.

Other members, including Lib Dem frontbencher David Heath and former shadow home secretary David Davis, also raised concerns.

Mr Bercow told MPs he would reflect on the matter, but insisted that the moves to gag The Guardian, which were dropped this afternoon, "in no way inhibited" parliamentary procedure.

"There is no queston of our own proceedure being in anyway inhibited. If the honorable member wants to pursue this as a matter of principle there is of couse, as he will doubtless know, an established procedure of raising it with me in writing," he said.

#trafigura has now dropped off the top ten Twitter trending topics.


Marc Ambinder for The Atlantic Online, The Guardian Gets To Speak, But Britain Deserves A Free Press:

In practice, when compared to, well, almost every other country in the history of the world, Britain's press has flourished. But it has done so without the type of prior right that gives the press in the U.S. its moral force. While the press cannot print anything it wants in either the U.S. or Britain, it is much easier in Britain for an entity to obtain a pre-publication injunction, or for some to win a libel lawsuit, or for parliament to bottle up debate, or for government to prevent journalists from publishing secrets. It is much harder to obtain information from the government. Still, it should be remarked that, believe or not, the Supreme Court of the United States did not formally agree that the government could not prevent the press from revealing "scandalous and defamatory" matter until 1933, in Near v. Minnesota.

It's not so much that an expressed free press right would have resolved this dispute the right way.We're still debating the limits of the bill of rights in this country. And in the U.K., the right to report on what someone says in parliament -- or on the questions submitted to be answered by a minister of government -- is already established in statute. But the existence of a constitutional right would shift the burden away from the interests with relatively less power than the state, the lawyers and the company.

Ian Reeves for Centre for Journalism, The injunction that failed, thanks to Twitter:

The digital revolution is about to lead to a legal one.

Tweet from @DistantHopes : Holy crap. Unless I miss my guess, check out how the disgraced #Trafigura literally had its name wiped from Twitscoop. [YouTube] #Trafigura on

Associated Press, The truth is already out there: Twitter users thwart oil company's attempt to gag media.

LONDON (AP) — Bloggers and Twitter users thwarted a legal attempt Tuesday to stop Britain's media from reporting the questions posed by a lawmaker in a parliamentary debate, spotlighting the power of new media to influence public policy.

Alan Brookland, My advice to Trafigura – just wait it out:

Before everyone gets too self-congratulatory, does any of this brief flirtation with online interest ever actually change anything? True, right now, lots of people who had probably never even heard of Trifigura will now be reading up on the dumping story, but, come tomorrow or next week, how many will still remember much about it? The bloggers will chalk up a victory and in this case the gagging order was actually lifted, but this is still an on-going case and nothing will have actually changed.

Sites like Twitter are excellent for catching a wave and occasionally rallying a large number of people behind a cause, but it’s yet to become the force for social change that it’s being made out to be. Real issues sadly aren’t resolved in an afternoon and a normally more complicated than 140 characters. If social media is really going to make the impact that it could, then we all need to keep an eye on the issues which we find important and persue them, not just jump on while it’s in the news and let it quietly die. Nag your MP, pester the mainstream media and ask the annoying questions, not just when the issue is in the news, but repeatedly. It’s only by proving that we can stay interested in an issue that change happens, otherwise people will just wait till the dust settles and everything will stay the same.

[PDF] The letter Index on Censorship sent to the courts in support of the Guardian.

[PDF] Carter-Ruck statement on behalf of Trafigura.

Tweet from @pauloCanning : BBC #Radio4 news *finally (and briefly) reporting #gagcarterruck Fry gets quoted

Mike Butcher for Techcrunch, There’s nowhere to hide if your name trends on Twitter. Is there, Trafigura?

With the traditional media gagged, the new media had kicked in. That created a story which plenty of trad media outlets and blogs outside the UK could not ignore and started reporting on.

In other words, this kind of censorship is over. And I hope that British Libel law will change as a result. It must now move into the 21st Century and reflect new technology. After all, there is now a new defence. Feel libelled? You can defend your case just as much as the other guy online. Except of course if you are dumb enough not to register @carterruck, for instance.

Today's UK Parliamentary questions over #trafigura gag order [YouTube]

Point of order on the injunction of the Guardian preventing it from printing a parliamentary question

Guardian, Trafigura gag attempt unites house in protest:

Labour MP Paul Farrelly told the speaker, John Bercow, attempts by lawyers Carter-Ruck to gag the media could be a "potential contempt of parliament".

The Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris said there was a need to "control the habit of law firms" of obtaining secrecy injunctions, and his colleague David Heath told the Commons a "fundamental principle" was being threatened: that MPs should be able to speak freely and have their words reported freely.

On the Conservative side, David Davies criticised the rising use of "super-injunctions", in which the fact of the injunction is itself kept secret. He said courts should not be allowed to grant injunctions forbidding the reporting of parliament.

CharonQC, Lawcast 155: The Guardian Gag affair with Carl Gardner.

Catherine Mayer for Time: Twitter Triumphant: Attempts to Gag Newspaper Are Thwarted By Tweets:

Twitterers across the world colored their avatars green to show support for the protestors who took to Iran's streets after the country's disputed elections earlier this year. Users of the micro-blogging site might now consider overlaying their avatars with a film of sludge brown as a mark of their spontaneous, collective action to help undermine an attempt by the international oil traders Trafigura to gag a British newspaper reporting on a toxic dumping case.

Daily Mail, Law firm's 'Kafkaesque' bid to block reporting of Parliamentary question is defeated - makes no mention of either Trafigura or Twitter!

Professional journal The Chemical Engineer has also been served with an injunction by Carter-Ruck for Trafigura.

Channel Four News report, Parliamentary question ban lifted.

channel four news report

Jon Snow talked to Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and asked him what had happened after the publication of this morning's paper.

He told Channel 4 News: "The blogosphere went berserk about a story that we published on our front page this morning, in which we said we can’t report a story for reasons we can’t tell you.

"After which there was about 16 hours of mayhem out there in the Twitter-sphere; and about an hour before we were due in court we received a letter from the lawyers saying 'we give in'.

"What has changed was that for the past six weeks we have been faced with an injunction – a so-called super injunction – which not only meant not only could we not tell anyone we had been injuncted, but that we could not mention the company involved either – I think this is a very dangerous phase in English law."

Tweet from @friendsofdarwin No mention of #trafigura or #carterruck on BBC 10 o'clock News. 5 minutes about racehorse's retirement. #bbcfail

Gillian Shaw on, Twitter backs Guardian newspaper in fight for free speech: A win for all:

Today marked a watershed moment in which social media stepped in to quash an attempt to gag a newspaper.

Guardian, How super-injunctions are used to gag investigative reporting:

Libel lawyers Carter-Ruck and Schillings have proved adept at persuading judges that injunctions should now be granted on privacy grounds. Some tabloid newspapers are being served with "a handful" of such orders each week, according to media lawyers. The Guardian has been served with at least 12 notices of injunctions that could not be reported so far this year, compared with six in the whole of 2006 and five the year before.

The motivation is straightforward, according to Mark Stephens, a partner at law firm Finer Stephens Innocent. "As the libel and privacy capital of the world, people are coming here [to London] to bully the media and NGOs into not reporting on their nefarious activities," he said.

Financial Times, Web’s effect on media law put to test:

Media lawyers, however, focused on the fact that the rulings of UK courts were not enforceable in the US.

Many of the servers hosting websites such as Facebook and Twitter are based in the US, meaning information cannot be suppressed.

Keith Ashby, head of litigation at Sheridans, said: “The difficulty is that injunctions cannot readily be obtained in the English courts against overseas internet service providers which would prevent them making the information available.”

Mr Ashby added: “If people get a whiff that publication of information has been injuncted in the print media, they are getting more canny about how to find the information on the internet.”

Michael Smyth, head of public policy at Clifford Chance, said: “We should not be surprised that the law finds it difficult to keep pace with technological advance and it is no answer in an era when judges are required to act proportionately to make a blanket order directed at the whole world.

“It is common practice for an injunction obtained against one newspaper to be copied to the whole of Fleet Street so that the market is aware of its terms and also bound by it. That’s the easy bit. What, however, of electronic publishers offshore about whom one knows next to nothing?” he added.

Mark Stephens of Finers Stephens Innocent agreed: “The issue with Twitter and SMS [text messaging] is that injunctions are not enforceable as you can’t stop people talking and in any case the servers which host these websites are in the US and outside the jurisdiction of the English courts.”

He pointed out that the order covering The Guardian was enforceable in England and Wales only, meaning that the Scottish and Irish media could report the parliamentary question.

Sunder Katwala on Liberal Conspiracy, Carter-Ruck:0 Guardian: 1… but what next?:

More broadly, wouldn’t it be a good idea to use this enjoyable moment of consciousness-raising to think about how we might sustain our attention and sort out a few deeper issues out too. Others may have a range of ideas. Here are three modest proposals of my own.

Mark Pack discovers that Trafigura have pretty dreadful website which says "This website and its contents are not directed at the general public.".

Tweets from @Danoosha Never seen a thin libel lawyer #newsnight #carterruck #trafigura #fb - @nuxnix BBCNewsnight #trafigura Slightly disappointing report I think this is the day where news media becomes less relevant to the real-time media


On the Wednesday Tory Politico reported Carter-Ruck/Guardian injunction revealed?

The bellow document is believed to be the secret injunction that would have prevented the Guardian reporting parliamentary proceedings yesterday.

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Monday 12 October 2009

LGBT history making in DC: Inspirational, evocational, provocational

This twitpic from an inter-racial couple was massively retweeted

Sunday's march for LGBT equality in Washington DC was a non-stop fest of speech making. From the fantabulous youth to the glorious head of the NAACP to 'Let the sunshine in' (and virtually all stops in-between). It was a Call To Action and then some. It made me teary, it would make anyone who believes in civil rights, human rights, teary.

Here are my tweets (back to front):

You can watch the whole thing here and I will add video highlights as I find them.

Andrew Sullivan explains about this sign: 'It was made in 1965, four years before Stonewall, and the Mattachine heroes held it up in front of the White House on October 23 forty four years ago. Charles Francis brought it, and allowed me to hold it for a while. I am so proud to have been part of this movement, and so honored to touch one its sacred artefacts.'


Video from the day.

Agree with Andrew Sullivan that this over-view of the day is "a little cheesy" but the visuals are great.

Cynthia Nixon asked 'What is the most important issue?'

The wonderful BRIT Billie Myers - "bisexual and fucking proud of it" - performs 'America the beautiful' with Dave Koz.

March organiser, Harvey Milk's friend, AIDS Quilt creator, Cleve Jones: "If you believe that you are equal then it is time to act like it."

The INCREDIBLE Jamaican-American poet Staceyann Chin: "We have to be willing to fight for more than what makes us comfortable because what makes us human is the acknowledgment of a universal humanity,"

Julian Bond leader of the NAACP, American Civil Rights Movement: "When I am asked 'are gay rights civil rights' my answer is always 'of course they are'."

Andrew Sullivan at the previous evening's HIV/AIDS MEMORIAL Ceremony at The National Equality March: "Seems that gay men are more interested in getting a glimpse of Lady GaGa than remembering 300,000 gay men who died. That makes me very sad."

Urvashi Vaid, long time activist: "We must be prepared to engage in a more profound battle, for the direction of this country."

Straight 18 yo young man Sam Sussman also spoke. He'd won the 'Equality Idol' contest by submitting a YouTube video stating the importance of equal rights for everyone.

The Right Side of History Campaign is a movement of young, inspired Americans who have joined together to heed Sam's call.

A big section of young, some very young, speakers opened the Rally. What an inspiring bunch they were.