The Supreme Court heard the case of PJS vs News Group Papers Ltd on Thursday. The video is available on demand on their website: https://www.supremecourt.uk/watch/uksc-2016-0080/210416-am.html – it’s dry viewing for a layperson, but it’s making good background noise.
I’m listening to Mr Desmond Browne QC (at least I think that’s his name?) saying how the press created a frenzy that caused people to want to find out who PJS and YMA are.
Nah mate. That’s not how it happened. Not for me anyway.
A friend of mine, who’s a bit of a law buff, posted on Facebook around the end of March about how there was an injunction preventing people from discussing something in England and Wales that could freely be discussed anywhere else in the world.
I took objection to that, and read up on it (edited to note: I maintain there was enough information online by March 30th 2016 for any reasonable person with interest to discover the identity of PJS). Trust me, at no point did the press ‘stir me up’ to do it – it was the injustice I felt at being restricted in what I could and couldn’t say because of my geographic location at the time that stirred me up to do it. Being born and raised in England, I was under the impression that I had freedom of expression, and I was somewhat outraged to learn otherwise. Forgive me.
And oddly, PJS & representatives, I’d have been on your side if this were a damages claim and not an injunction. It’s fair to say that, unless your aim was to get as much publicity as possible, I believe this injunction has caused you a lot more harm than it has good.
Without the injunction, I would not have looked the couple up on Google. I would not have read about their previous antics, nor had any reason to get angry. Aside from being yet another stain on The Sun’s reputation, it would have been a non-story to me. That would have been the end of it.
The biggest irony of all, though, is that the injunction tarnished the reputation of YMA & PJS more than any news article ever could because the details leaked in a Chinese Whispers fashion across England, and caused confusion.
A number of people got PJS mixed up with YMA. A large majority seemed to believe both PJS and YMA participated. All of which could have been avoided if the people of England hadn’t been kept in the dark and had the facts. Every time someone named YMA as PJS I wanted to correct them, but guess what – I couldn’t. Well, I suppose I could have, being out of the country, but how deep did I want to get into the whole thing, and how much time did I want to spend on it all?
I’m still beyond incensed that someone in Scotland or Ireland could tweet or write about this case, whereas someone in England or Wales could get into trouble for it. It all seems rather 1984. If I were younger, I’d totally go and stand on the border and make a cool viral video on how a few footsteps can make all the difference. Indeed, if I had the cash to spare, I’d look at my own options for taking it court – but I’m the sole carer for my elderly mother, and my money is better spent elsewhere.
Caring for your mother should always comes first, ya know. It’s a point of principle.