Cue huge media outrage. A few quick points:
- No one is saying he shouldn't have posted what he posted. If it turns out to be defamatory, a court of law will decide that in due course, and if his accusations are true, then the defence of justification will kick in and he will not be liable for what he said. He is not being gagged, merely being forced to take responsibility for statements he is making in the public domain which have a bearing on the reputation of an institution.
- It is not at all "Orwellian" for the Council to bring action to protect their reputation. Forcing Twitter to release a user's details because someone wishes to bring a case against that user is not at all an attack on freedom of speech on the internet. The right to freedom of speech is not an absolute right; it can be legitimately restricted to prevent abuses. It is balanced with the right to defend one's reputation in public. There is no reason why the Council should not be able to know who to sue. It would be a deprivation of their rights of access to justice if anyone was allowed to make defamatory statements under the cover of anonymity.
This is just infuriating. If you don't understand how rights and freedoms function, don't refer to them to defend your argument. Do your research first. Classic example:
If you make a statement in a public domain, you cannot then claim that your 'privacy' is being breached just because your details are released to a party who wishes to sue you. And as stated above, freedom of speech is a right, but it is not the overriding right, and as the ECHR and various other judges have reasoned many a time, it must be taken in consideration and balanced with other rights.
And the way the Guardian have tried to shoehorn the Giggs injunction story in again is just beyond pathetic.
Follow-up will be posted next week.