What the Other Papers are Saying …

The Sunday Herald is being namechecked around the world, for defying a court order – albeit applicable in England rather than Scotland – that bans the naming of a person believed to be at the centre of a super injunction following allegations about his private life.

But what are the newspapers closer to home saying about it today?

Daily Mirror

Carries the story on page 9 with a feature giving the views of showbusiness personality, Coleen Nolan, on page 8 who opines: “If he [the footballer] had come clean the moment his affair was rumbled it would be very old news by now. OK, so that would have involved the uncomfortable task of breaking the news of his duvet alliance to his wife early on, but he’s had to do that anyway because of all the hoo-ha his injunction has caused. But having to tell her after the injunction was granted meant the poor woman had the double whammy of discovering that not only was her husband a cheat. He was a cheat who was cynically prepared to operate a fabulously complicated lie to keep her and everyone else in the dark.”

Reckons the footballer has already spent £200,000 on legal fees and claims his identity has been revealed by US business magazine, Forbes, and he has been named in India, South Africa, Japan, Russia and Dubai. It quotes media lawyer, Mark Stephens, saying that to sue Twitter would require an action needing to be raised in San Francisco, where it is based. But quotes Stephens, adding: “Any attempt to enforce English privacy or libel law will not be accepted in the US.”

Names the Sunday Herald.

Daily Record

Devotes page 5 to the story with the heading: ‘Named & shamed’. Explains that because it sells south of the border, it risks contempt of court and privacy actions if it names the player.

Quotes PR guru, Max Clifford, as saying: “Some 80 to 90 per cent of newspaper readers know his name. It is going to be interesting to see what happens. There is this whole battle between freedom of the press and the right to personal privacy. He (the footballer) is making the whole situation a farce and making the damage to himself increase. He has been very badly advised.”

Names the Sunday Herald.

Daily Star of Scotland

The tabloid, which is a sister paper of the Scottish Daily Express, does not rate the story as worthy of page 1, but, instead, carries a big spread on page 9, in which it reports the Sunday Herald’s angle on the issue.

Names the Sunday Herald.

The Daily Telegraph

Carries a story on page 1, headlined: ’Law a ‘joke’ after footballer named’ in which it says that “the law surrounding privacy injunctions was described as being at ‘breaking point’ last night after a newspaper used its front page to identify a high-profile footballer with a gagging order”.

It quotes Niri Shan, head of media law at Taylor Wessing, as saying: “I suspect Schillings [the footballer’s lawyers] rather feel like the little Dutch boy putting his finger in the dyke to stop a leak but then discovering another leak appearing elsewhere.”

Names the Sunday Herald. 

The Guardian

Doesn’t carry the story on page 1, and , instead, has a smallish story on page 2 which names the Sunday Herald.

However, the paper gives the issue some peripheral coverage in its weekly media supplement – mediaguardian – with articles by Dan Sabbagh and Tim Glanfield.

Sabbagh comments, on the premise that the vast majority of gagging orders are granted to keep information about affairs or other sexual indiscretions out of the papers: “In truth, the public interest is so thin in revealing them that most of the time press lawyers have abandoned making public interest arguments for disclosure  – rather resorting to Article 10 of the European Convention that gives people the right to ‘freedom of expression’, without acknowledging that one person’s freedom is circumscribed when it impinges on another’s.”

Names the Sunday Herald.

The Herald (sister title of the Sunday Herald)

Splashes the story on page 1 with a report by Chris Watt, and points out …”hundreds of thousands of Twitter users circulated the name and some posted photographs of the Sunday Herald which were viewed hundreds of thousands of times”. The story also emphasised that the Sunday Herald …”is published by a Scottish company and distributed exclusively in Scotland and as such the super-injunction is not applicable”.

The story is carried on to page 2, and there is an opinion feature article by Andrew McKie (not identified by profession) on page 15, in which he comments: “If you had wanted to maximise publicity, you couldn’t have done it better. As a result, by the time yesterday’s [Sunday Herald] appeared, I was fed up to the back teeth hearing about it, since it has been one of the most discussed topics online.”  

No mention of the issue in its leader column.

Names the Sunday Herald.

The Independent

The Independent carries a striking and very clever image covering practically all of page 1 which is dominated by the heading: ‘Super-injunctions: The law is a farce'.

It does not name the Sunday Herald in either its front-page illustration or its detailed coverage on page 2, which has a feature explaining that Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, has pledged to resist pressure to censor entries.

Also carries a backgrounder on law firm, Schillings, which is representing the unnamed footballer. The article says Schillings …”has long styled itself as a fearsome attack dog used by the moneyed to bring the media to heel, but its tactics with super injunctions are now being questioned within the industry”. The paper also carries a piece by media pundit, Stephen Glover, on page 4 of its Viewspaper section.

Does not name the Sunday Herald, referring to it as a 'Scottish newspaper'.

The Press and Journal

No mention at all on the front page, with the story appearing, instead, on page 5.

It says: “Meanwhile a journalist could be prosecuted after allegedly naming on Twitter an England footballer who had taken out a privacy injunction.

“According to a Sunday newspaper, the man, who also appears on ‘a widely-viewed BBC programme’, could face a contempt of court charge. It was reported that lawyers for the married footballer – alleged to have had a sexual relationship with a model – persuaded a High Court judge to ask Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, to consider whether the journalist should be prosecuted. A spokesman for the Attorney General said the documentation had not yet been received.”

Names the Sunday Herald.

The Scotsman

Leads its front page with a story by David Maddox suggesting that the Sunday Herald could face prosecution. Maddox writes: “Leading media lawyer, Campbell Deane, warned that, despite England and Scotland having separate legal systems, the paper’s editor, journalists and directors could face prosecution for contempt of court and possibly go to prison.”

The story is carried inside to pages 4 and 5 when there is also an article by Deane explaining that,  in legal terms, the Sunday Herald is on uncertain ground. Deane is a partner of Scottish media law firm, Bannatyne Kirkwood France & Co, and is legal adviser to The Scotsman.

Names the Sunday Herald.

Scottish Daily Express

Down page story on page 5 and based largely on the Sunday Herald’s own version of the issue. Quotes the paper’s legal adviser, Paul McBride QC. The paper says that more than ten million people were discussing the footballer’s name and details of the court order on the internet, while a newspaper survey suggested that half the population knew his identity.

It reports: “Legal experts suggested the online frenzy could brand the injunction worthless and even spark a formal application to have the gagging order withdrawn at London’s High Court this week.”

It also quotes media lawyer, Mark Stephen, as saying the injunction is now “nothing more than an exercise in futility” and it was “inevitable” that the order would be revoked.

Names the Sunday Herald.

Scottish Daily Mail

Front page splash, with the heading, ‘Great gagging order revolt’. Begins Steve Doughty, the paper’s social affairs correspondent: “A footballer’s court battle to keep his alleged affair secret has provoked the biggest act of civil disobedience in modern times.”

There is also a leader article on page 14, and the whole of page 4 is devoted to the story (with a splendid cartoon) and turns the spotlight on a …”television personality faces a possible jail sentence for reputing the footballer’s name in a series of Twitter entries and making jokes at his expense. If the media figure is named in any trial for contempt of court then the footballer’s injunction will be effectively broken. So if judges are to keep to the terms of the injunction the trial is meant to protect, he cannot be named”.

Names the Sunday Herald.

The Scottish Sun

Page 1 splash and two-page spread on pages 4 and 5, plus an editorial (page 8) and the lead item in Scottish broadcaster, Kaye Adam’s weekly column (page 11). The inside spread carries the heading: ‘Imogen’s love cheat is at his Twits end’.

The tabloid reports that the footballer was partly named by media pundits on BBC Radio yesterday; his Wikipedia profile has been updated to name him; and his name was chanted at a Premier League football match yesterday.

Names the Sunday Herald.

The Times

Leads its front page with the story, quoting John Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP who has spoken out against super injunctions, as saying:”The Attorney General should not prosecute the Sunday Herald because this is not a law that has popular support. 30,000 people entering into the biggest act of civil disobedience in my knowledge of British history by telling a joke on twitter.”

The paper carries a powerful editorial in which it claims that the decision of lawyers to target individual users of twitter …”is entirely cynical”.

The story is carried into page 10 where there is a commentary piece by the paper’s Scottish editor, Magnus Linklater, in which he recalls how – in 1988, when he was a new editor of The Scotsman – the memoirs of a former intelligence agent, Anthony Cavendish, was the subject of an injunction taken out in England – but not in Scotland.

The Scotsman announced it was intending to publish the book and the Attorney General succeeded in obtaining a temporary interdict in Scotland. Downing Street took on The Scotsman right through the courts to the House of Lords, but, as Linklater points out: “There we won a triumphant victory – and published.”

Names the Sunday Herald.