The Guardian newspaper has announced it has been gagged from reporting parliamentary proceedings, on legal grounds, for the first time in living memory. It has said in its report:
Today’s published Commons order papers contain a question to be answered by a minister later this week. The Guardian is prevented from identifying the MP who has asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question is to be found.
The Guardian is also forbidden from telling its readers why the paper is prevented – for the first time in memory – from reporting parliament. Legal obstacles, which cannot be identified, involve proceedings, which cannot be mentioned, on behalf of a client who must remain secret.
The only fact the Guardian can report is that the case involves the London solicitors Carter-Ruck, who specialise in suing the media for clients, who include individuals or global corporations.
The action against the paper appears to call into question the privileges that guarantee free speech established under the 1688 Bill of Rights.
The Guardian has vowed to immediately go to court to overturn the decision.
For the sake of our free speech and our democracy let’s hope they succeed!