Thursday, 29 December 2011

My news review 2011 part 2 - natural disasters, riots and the rise and fall of the super injunction

In my last post I touched on some of the most newsworthy events of the past year. But of course the news doesn’t end with just a few stories – this year has been eventful in so many ways.

In March the world was shocked, when an earthquake with a magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale struck off the coast of Japan, causing a tsunami. The devastation was immense, and tens of thousands of people died. But the horror didn’t end there, in the aftermath of the tsunami, damage caused to generators at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plants resulted in explosions in at least three nuclear reactors. A large area around the plants were evacuated, and there were fears of a nuclear disaster. Fortunately a major nuclear meltdown was averted, but things could so easily have been different.

Back in the UK in August a wave of riots spread across the country. Initially the protests started in London, in response to the shooting of Mark Duggan during a police operation in London, a man who police believed at the time to be armed. A wave of riots began in London over a three day period and then rapidly spread across the country. Large numbers of people headed to the streets, looting, smashing up shops and cars, in some instances businesses were irrevocably damaged, and several people died, most memorably perhaps three men who were killed in a hit and run incident in Birmingham. The criminal proceedings are still ongoing, and the UK riots will no doubt be remembered for a long time to come.

Then we witnessed the rise and fall of the super injunction. These injunctions were taken out by celebrities, in order to prevent the press from reporting details about their private lives, generally their extra marital affairs. Perhaps the most prominent of these injunctions was taken out by footballer Ryan Giggs to prevent reporting of his extra marital activities. However, it all came back to bite him in a big way when rumours of his affairs were posted on twitter and retweeted across the internet. After all, while you can stop a story being published in the press, it is not so easy to stop it being published on social media by members of the public, and Ryan Giggs found that out the hard way. In fact his affairs would almost certainly have been less of a story had they just been printed in the tabloids, but instead the injunction just made the story far more desirable, and a far bigger one than would otherwise have been the case. I have little doubt that celebrities will think twice before taking out such injunctions in the future.

There is of course still more to say about the past year, and perhaps a time to think about what next year might hold, but I’ll save that for my next post.

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