14.5.04

Papers set to challenge Carr injunction

Several papers are heading to the High Court this afternoon to challenge the court order granted to Carr yesterday.

They feel that the wide-ranging restrictions (see MB below) are excessive. While there is acceptance of the ban on directly identifying Carr, the ban on her surrounding circumstances is seen as an intrusion on the media's freedom of expression. The debate in court will be about whether the desire to protect Carr from physical abuse and danger should outweigh the public's right to know and media's right to report on her general circumstances.

It could turn out to be textbook stuff with the court turning to Article 10 of the European Convention. This does provide for freedom of speech and expression but clause 2 of the article contains a significant claw-back that makes an exception in cases where national security or the protection of others is at stake. There is a requirement that any restrictions imposed under the clause are 'necessary in a democratic society' - so it could come down to whether the level of protection granted to Carr is deemed 'necessary'.

The order as it currently stands is perhaps tougher on internet service providers whose customers may well be outside jurisdiction and post prohibited material which the ISP then makes available in England and Wales. In response to the Bulger case Demon Internet did successfully challenge its application to ISPs thereby placing liability on the customer rather than service provider. Whether the same rules would apply or be accepted in Carr's case needs to be ascertained.

More from BBC HERE
More from Media Guardian HERE


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