Personal Affairs Not the Public’s Business

It did not take long for the British press to swing from reporting about the Royal Wedding to reporting about the now infamous privacy injunction saga.

This privacy injunction in concern is a gagging order on the British press and public, stopping anyone from divulging details or the name of a mystery famous British footballer who allegedly had an extra-marital affair with celebrity Imogen Thomas. Anyone revealing details or the name of this footballer is liable to be sued, charged in court, and jailed. The privacy injunction was granted on April 14 and the name given to this case is CTB v News Group Newspapers, with CTB being the anonymous footballer.

More than a month has passed since this privacy injunction and the identity of this footballer is no longer a mystery. What started from a case that would protect and hide him has turned into a saga that has made a mockery and farce of the British legal system.

When the privacy injunction was granted, rumors abounded about the identity of the footballer. Since British lawmakers knew his identity and Thomas gave many hints as to who he was, it did not take long before the British public knew his identity. Although the press could not publish his identity, the public still talked. They published his name in Twitter. It certainly help matters that Thomas went for interviews crying foul that her “name and reputation are being trashed” while the footballer could hide his identity. Before long, this footballer sued Twitter. A big and useless legal step since Twitter’s headquarters is in United States. Tweeters were revengeful, and tweets with his name increased so that his name became a Twitter trend.

On May 23, Member of Parliament John Hemming used parliamentary privilege to announce the footballer’s name. This was just the perfect excuse the press needed to publish his name without being charged. Ryan Giggs, a prominent footballer from the most popular British football club, was exposed. The British press can now publish his name as long as their articles are tied-up to the parliament revelation.

I have been following this saga right from the start and I am enraged. I can finally understand why the British press is voracious. They have to satiate the hunger of the British public for sensational news. No wonder British press is infamous for celebrity hounding! True, Giggs should not try to hide his wrongdoing and he erred greatly in having an extra-marital affair, but he has confessed to his wife. His personal affairs are none of the public’s business. His wife knows and that is enough. Hemming’s usage of parliamentary privilege is a clear example of misusage and abuse of rights. To feed his want for attention, he has helped to cruelly sacrificed Giggs’ wife and his young children to the press who will now continually stalk them.

Thomas is not completely without fault although she has been painting a picture of herself to the press as someone who is a victim of the saga just because she does not have the money for a privacy injunction. But this is the way the world works: whoever has the money is usually at the advantage. She should learn that. She has the audacity to even say that this has “affected her health” and a family member said that her family was concerned that she might try to commit suicide. Few believed them. She did wrong, she is now living the consequences. She should quit whining about it and trying to tell information about the affair. Doubtless, some of the info would be true, but there would be some grossly exaggerated info as well. After all, the more sordid the info is, the better the story sells. And even with the privacy injunction in place, she is earning big bucks from the interviews she’s been giving! Initially, she had many sympathizers as evidenced by the comments posted in news articles about her. Now, more and more people are getting tired of the way she has been thrusting herself into fame and money.

Of course, the issue of as to how long does a person’s personal info remain private is highly debated. After reading news report after report of this saga, I can only wish that everyone’s personal info remains only for the knowledge of those involved forever. It is an unethical and busybody world where everyone has the right to be privy to someone’s private life. Human rights say that media have to be given the right to publish what they want, but what about the rights of those involved? It’s a double-standard world when media can publish what they wish without restraints. It is one thing if the affair concerned endangers the public, and it is another thing if it doesn’t.

Evangeline is a 16-year old homeschooler from Malaysia. She likes reading, writing, editing Wikipedia, listening to music and surfing the net. She is always on the lookout for new posts for her blog:

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