23 May 2011

Twitter makes privacy law ‘unsustainable’ – Cameron

Judges again refuse to allow journalists to name a footballer at the centre of a privacy storm. Meanwhile the player has been named by an MP, protected by parliamentary privilege in the Commons.

Twitter privacy row.

The High Court has turned down a request by journalists to name the footballer at the centre of a privacy storm, following a challenge by lawyers from The Sun. Meanwhile, in Parliament, an MP has named the high-profile player. MPs are protected by “absolute privilege” in the Commons.

Earlier, David Cameron said the UK’s privacy laws have created an “unsustainable” situation where newspapers are prevented from publishing information that everyone is talking about.

On Sunday, Scotland’s Sunday Herald newspaper published a barely disguised image of the married star alleged to have taken out an order to stop former Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas publishing details about their relationship.

The Prime Minister told ITV1’s Daybreak programme: “It’s not fair on the newspapers if all the social media can report this and the newspapers can’t, and so the law and the practice has got to catch up with how people consumer media today.”

It’s not fair on the newspapers if all the social media can report this and the newspapers can’t. David Cameron

Addressing concerns that injunction rulings meant that judges were “effectively writing a new sort of law”, Mr Cameron said he thought that the Government and Parliament had to “take some time out, have a proper look at this, have a think about what we can do”.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, appeared to endorse Mr Cameron’s view that privacy laws are outdated.

“It looks to me like English law and English injunctions are increasingly impractical in the modern world,” he told BBC Radio’s Today programme.

And Mr Salmond warned that the Attorney General would be “extremely foolish” to start legal proceedings against the Sunday Herald. Privacy injunctions granted in London apply only to England and Wales.

More from Channel 4 News: the tech and legal view of the Twitter injunction row

“I think it would be very, very unlikely that an Attorney General would be as foolish as to do so,” he said.

“There is a whole question of what is of interest to the public and what is in the public interest, which can often be different things.”

Last month a married footballer, referred to as “CTB” in court documents, obtained an order preventing The Sun newspaper from revealing his name.