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The social media voice and THAT Footballer

Annie Wakefield
Digital Marketing Manager
24 May 2011

The Arab world utilised twitter to move millions to demonstrations for freedom; now, here in the UK, we have a peculiar variation of twitter being used for free speech. A major deal in the social media sphere today was the battle of a famed footballer who is attempting to withhold an affair he’s had from becoming public knowledge by getting a super-injunction.  For those who live under a rock or outside the UK, a super-injunction is essentially a gagging order which commands the press not to report on the person the licence has been issued for.

However, even a judge couldn’t hold back the international press from reporting on the player’s name (where the injunction has no remit – Scotland included!), nor the tens of thousands of tweets about the subject.  The player’s legal team did try to go after some highly influential Twitter profiles by requesting the details of the accounts from California based Twitter (again, entirely out of English jurisdiction).  Did they actually think that would work?

Beyond the obvious ridiculousness of this entire event, and the attempts by the player’s legal ensemble to target twitter users, I find it truly peculiar.  I woke up to Radio 4 discussing a “footballer who cannot be named” yet did a Twitter search from my iPhone and his name was everywhere – seems a strange situation.

This event will no doubt go down in law schools and communication courses as a critical turning point in the never ending saga of humanity’s right to free speech.  It exhibits the struggle our laws are undergoing to keep up with the internet and digital communication.  For the western world, this event highlights the principles of free speech which social media lends to all; it looks like digital voices aren’t as easy to silence, be it an English judge or a president in the middle east that wants them so.

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