Editors have repeatedly added details about superinjunctions taken out by four celebrities in Britain to the stars' articles, according to reports last week. The information on the four articles has constantly been reverted and the diffs hidden for BLP reasons; the pages have either been protected or the pending changes system has been implemented. A superinjunction is a legal injunction which prevents all media from broadcasting both the allegation the person has chosen to hide, but also the fact they have taken out an injunction.
According to The Daily Telegraph, one of the celebrities (whose identities are known to The Signpost) is a high-profile actor who reportedly had an extramarital affair with a prostitute, and one is a Premier League footballer accused of having an affair with reality-show contestant, Imogen Thomas. The other two are television presenters: one allegedly had an affair, and another, according to the Daily Mail, took out a superinjunction to quash photographs described as showing him "intimate" with a woman.
While the revisions in the history of the articles have been deleted by administrators, it is evident that on one of the pages the reports of the superinjunction were added ten times by various users. The names of the four celebrities are readily available on the social networking site Twitter. The Telegraph quoted a spokesperson for Wikipedia who said that administrators will continue to remove content that violates superinjunctions. However, Wikipedia's servers are based in the US, outside the UK jurisdiction. "People have tried to sue the foundation for libellous content but it's been thrown out. Our material has to be really well referenced or it is chucked out immediately", according to the spokesperson.
The debate over the moral ethics of superinjunctions has become more intense in Britain in recent months. This week, BBC political presenter Andrew Marr revealed he had taken out a superinjuction in January 2008 to prevent the media reporting an affair he had with a national newspaper journalist. Marr came forward only after Ian Hislop, the editor of Private Eye, threatened to take legal action to expose his superinjunction; Hislop this week celebrated his disclosure of what he termed a "Kafkaesque" and "absurd" court order. David Cameron, the British prime minister, has also spoken out against superinjunctions: "The judges are creating a sort of privacy law, whereas what ought to happen in a parliamentary democracy is [that parliament] should decide how much protection do we want ... so I am a little uneasy about what is happening." Campaign group Index on Censorship welcomed Marr's confession about the superinjuction, which he has now dropped. John Kampfner, the chief executive of the organisation, said: "While there may be exceptional circumstances in which injunctions may be necessary, we are seeing gagging orders being used to hide the wealthy from embarrassment and even commercial damage. We are in danger of creating a secret network of secret rich man's justice."
In January, there was a similar case on Wikipedia after a New Zealand court had issued a name suppression order concerning a sports broadcasting journalist's short-time arrest and minor "disorderly behaviour" charge (Signpost coverage). The information was likewise reverted at first, but was eventually reinstated after the person in question self-identified.
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