Giggs: What the Scottish Papers are Saying

The 'outing' of Ryan Giggs is extensively covered by media outlets in Scotland today.

The Scottish Daily Mail devotes most of its front page to the story under the heading: ‘MPs: We will not be gagged, m’lud’. It has four pages inside plus the lead item in Richard Littlejohn’s column and a leader article.

The paper claims that the most prominent privacy lawyers charge a rate equivalent to £26,000 a week, with a 30-second phone calls costing £65. It also has an interesting fact-box which details: ’Ten names you are STILL not allowed to be told…’

The Scottish Daily Express, meanwhile, carries a picture of Giggs and his wife, Stacey, on page 1, and a two-page inside spread, plus a leader article. The story is the lead item in Vanessa Feltz’s column.

The Daily Record splashes the story on page 1 with the brilliant heading, 'Shaming Private Ryan’,  and has a two-page spread inside which includes a pictures of Ryan Giggs and his family – wife, Stacey,  and his children – taken on Sunday after Manchester United collected the Premier League trophy after its match against Blackpool.

The Scottish Sun also gives over most of its front page to the story with the heading: ‘It’s Ryan Giggs’. It also has a two-page spread inside, including an opinion piece by The Sun’s chief football writer, Shaun Custis, and a leader article.

It quotes Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, backing the Sunday Herald’s agenda-setting decision to identify Giggs on Sunday – the first mainstream media outlet to do so.

Salmond is quoted as saying: “Scotland has a separate legal system. Whatever the Sunday Herald does or doesn’t do will be controlled by Scots law and, if people wanted to withhold the name of the footballer, then they should have sought interdict in the Court of Session.”

The Herald’s front page is dominated by the Giggs affair. The story and analysis continues on pages 2, 3, 4 and 5, with an impressive use of big pictures. The coverage includes a comment piece by Richard Walker, the editor of the Sunday Herald – The Herald's Sunday sister title – plus a lengthy leader article.

The Scotsman also devotes its front page to the story with the heading: ‘Privacy law chaos as Giggs gagging order is smashed’.

On the front page, Gareth Rose reports: “The media frenzy surrounding Giggs led Sir Alex Ferguson, his club manager, to cancel an appearance at the funeral yesterday of former SFA secretary, Ernie Walker, so he could ‘deal with the fall-out’.”

Rose also quotes Scotland’s Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland, as saying that Scottish publications could safely reveal super- njunctions taken out in London, as they did not extend north of the Border. He also quotes a Crown Office spokesperson as saying: “Separate proceedings would have to be initiated in the Scottish courts to prevent publication here. Assuming that no interdict has been obtained in Scotland to prevent publication, there does not appear to be any basis for saying that the Sunday Herald has committed a legal wrong.”

The story also quotes Salmond, as saying it would “extremely foolish” for the Attorney General in England to try to start proceedings against a Scottish publication.

The Scotsman carries the story on two pages inside and a lengthy leader with the heading: ‘Super-injunctions farce exposes law as an ass’.

The Scottish edition of The Times carries a picture of a pensive Giggs on page 1 and a two-page spread inside headlined: ‘Worst-kept secret is broken as MP names player in privacy row’. Lorraine Davidson reports: “Dominic Grieve [the Attorney General] said he was not considering contempt about the Glasgow-based paper [Sunday Herald] which was the first to name the star as the subject of the court order.”

She adds: “A spokeswoman for the Attorney General said: ‘He has not received a complaint and he is not actively considering potential contempt proceedings’.” 

The Times also carries an opinion piece by Rachel Sylvester on how the row over privacy is just part of a “… deepening battle between Parliament and judges”. The paper also carries a number of readers’ letter on the issue.

The Press and Journal, meanwhile, carries just a puff-box on its front page but gives over most of page 5 to coverage. In a leader article, it points out: “The image of various judges and senior legal figures in England trying to hold back the tide of public opinion over the Ryan Giggs super injunction was reminiscent of the story of King Canute.

The leader concludes: “It has been a devastating lesson for the public, and judges and super injunction applicants in particular, about the ease with which privacy orders can now be rendered worthless.

“The implications are huge for privacy law, and for judges and MPs, who appear to be on a collision course over who has the ultimate power over free speech.”

It is again a good day on the promotion front for the Sunday Herald with the title being named in most – if not all – newspapers.