Archive for October 16th, 2009

Does the individual hold right to information?

Trafigura was a relatively anonymous trading company based in London. One fine morning they hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. They were slapped with a lawsuit dumping toxic sludge at the front yard of one of the poorest countries in the world. The 30,000 Africans were certain their lives and health were put at risk by the wanton greed of some trading company three thousand miles away. Suddenly the company was faced with a PR problem. ( It is better to grub money in anonymity than be found doing so like a poltroon. Certainly creeps come in Saville Row suit these days and yet reveal unawares their guttersnipe days. Their talk of million dollar deals notwithstanding.) What Trafigura wanted least was to be shown for what they really were. They blinked and yet their problem didn’t just disappear.
Trafigura then went onto the offensive. They hired best libel lawyers and threatened the Press all over the world; they cut a deal with a judge to suppress an embarrassing document that the press had got hold of. A new word was coined: super-injunction by which even the existence of a court order could be put away from public scrutiny.
On October 12 on Monday a British MP, Paul Farrelly tabled a question about the so-called super-injunction  in Parliament. This news found its way on the front page of the Guardian.
Following this Mr. Alan Rusbridger to quote his own words, placed this message on Twitter.
“Now Guardian prevented from reporting for unreportable reasons. Did John Wilkes live in vain?”
The twitttersphere became soon inundated with the issue. By midday on Tuesday ‘Trafigura’ became the most searched term  in Europe. Just as the Guardian was due in court Trafigura’s bluff to ride the storm of their own puking just vanished.
As long as an individual has curiosity and ask questions in order to ferret out the truth, no body of unjust men whether it be governments or Corporations can be secure behind a wall of secrecy. We individuals have the right tools for it. Internet is one among many. (Ack:Guardian Newspapers,Ltd,2009)


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