UK: Ryan Giggs loses privacy damages claim against the Sun

A damages claim by Manchester United and Wales footballer Ryan Giggs against the Sun newspaper was thrown out by the High Court today. Giggs claimed that the tabloid had “misused” private information, and said he was entitled to claim damages for distress and breach of a right to privacy. Giggs was granted an injunction in April 2011 after an article was published in the tabloid about an unnamed player’s alleged affair with model Imogen Thomas. The anonymity part of the injunction was lifted last month, despite the footballer already having been widely identified on Twitter and named in the Commons by Lib Dem MP John Hemming in May 2011. News Group Newspapers, publisher of the Sun, argued at a hearing last month that Giggs’ damages claim was “dead in the water” and should be thrown out.

UK: Ryan Giggs legally named as footballer behind Imogen Thomas ‘affair’ injunction

Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs has been named in court for the first time as the Premier League footballer with a high-profile privacy injunction against the Sun. At a hearing at the high court today, Giggs agreed to lift the anonymity part of the injunction that he brought in April 2011 to prevent the tabloid from publishing claims he had an extra-marital affair with model Imogen Thomas. Yet the footballer was widely identified on Twitter and was named in the Commons by Lib Dem MP John Hemming last May. The footballer is trying to claim damages for distress from the Sun — alleging the paper breached his right to privacy — as well as for subsequent re-publication of information in other newspapers and online.

Privacy concerns should not be used as excuse to bash press

Celebrity, tawdriness and free speech — the issues surrounding privacy create a perfect storm for those worried about the standards of our tabloid press on the one hand and a secretive state on the other. For advocates of free expression, led by Index on Censorship, the row over privacy and injunctions has proved testing. But it need not be. (more…)

Ten things I've learned about injunctions

Now that the dust is settling after the injunctions affair, here are some things I learned:

1. Ryan Giggs never applied for, nor was he ever granted, a superinjunction.

2. There have been only two new superinjunctions in the past year — one lasted seven days and the other was overturned on appeal.

3. Newspapers which furiously inform their readers that injunctions are against the public interest are remarkably bad at making that case in court (where they have to present actual arguments).

4. The Fred Goodwin injunction never prevented regulators from investigating whether his alleged relationship breached bank rules, nor did it prevent anyone — including newspapers — from complaining to those regulators.

5. You don’t have to rely on the media for explanations of important court judgements; you can normally read them for yourself at a brilliant legal website called (Give it a try.)

6. There appear to be 75,000 British Twitter users who are ready, with the right tabloid encouragement, to participate in the “naming and shaming” (or pillorying) of adulterers.

7. When their commercial interest is threatened our tabloid papers forget their traditional enthusiasm for law and order and rail against judges and the legal system like serial lags in Wormwood Scrubs.

8. When it suits them, the tabloids also blithely set aside their usual view that online social networking is an evil invention that causes crime, suicide, binge drinking, obesity, terrorism and cancer.

9. When David Cameron is shouted at by the press he will feebly set up a committee, even when another committee reported on more or less the same thing only a week earlier. (He will also fail to declare an interest, which is that he is a close friend of the chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s News International.)

10. For every time the law is an ass there is an occasion when the British tabloid press is a slavering pack of hyenas. But with the law you have a right of appeal.

Brian Cathcart teaches journalism at Kingston University London. Follow him on Twitter @BrianCathcart