The Tiger Woods extramarital scandal has dominated the news for quite a while now, but in the United States, it would be hard for him to go to court trying to suppress material that would incriminate him. In the UK, however, libel laws make it so easy for him to file an injunction forcing publications not to discuss the matter. So he filed one last Thursday, though it won’t stop British internet users from looking at other websites, particularly from the United States, that could potentially publish this matter.
What’s seems to be the problem? In the days when print was king, a gagging order was the best way to suppress information since newspapers published to a particular area. But what does it mean for the Internet age? If the purpose was to suppress information, it would be harder, especially if said person is a household name worldwide. If people want to find it, they will get it.
Notwithstanding my particular opinion about Tiger Woods’ dalliances or whether said material should be published, but I think that we’re in a different age now when it comes to information. The Internet age essentially killed the gagging order. If you’re famous and there’s skeletons in your closet, at some point it will come out. Maybe not in the celebrity-heavy British tabloids, but somewhere else. What is the High Court going to do next, block Britons from reading CNN or The New York Times? No publication is beyond limits anymore. Celebrities, you’ve been warned.