Twitter injunction against Greenpeace backfires

By Laura Brown - 20 Jul 2011 16:26:52 GMT
Twitter injunction against Greenpeace backfires

A Scottish company's attempt to gag a protest organised by Greenpeace at their Edinburgh headquarters has backfired after activists broke the injunction by raising its profile on Twitter.

Cairn Energy won an interim injunction on Monday after Greenpeace activists entered their offices. Cairn Energy is responsible for deep-water drilling in the Arctic. Greenpeace said their volunteers wanted to see the firm's "secret Arctic oil spill response plan". 17 protestors, some who were dressed as polar bears and had staged a sit-in, were arrested. Pictures of the protest appeared in local media as well as on various blogs and social networking sites.

The court order prohibits "disseminating, printing, uploading, sharing, copying or otherwise publishing any images, photographs, pictures or other material (or copies thereof) taken or recorded by Greenpeace activists present within 50 Lothian Road, Edinburgh on or around 18 July 2011" according to a post on Greenpeace's website. That meant any mention of the protest on the organisation's blogs, Facebook or Twitter had to be removed.

Yet while Greenpeace adhered to the injunction hundreds of people around the world, angered by the action, posted images on their personal social networking accounts, giving the protest move coverage and raising its profile higher than it had initially been.

Cairn concern when they applied for the injunction was that confidential or commercially sensitive data could be published.

A spokesman for Cairn Energy said: "Cairn's purpose is not in any way, shape or form to shut down or 'gag' debate - indeed we have been on the record about people's clear right to protest for two years now. The step taken has been to protect confidential information which Greenpeace people have or may have accessed during a near eight-hour occupation of private offices. This is a duty to all sorts of people including employees, partners and shareholders."

Greenpeace's response is that they feel they have been gagged "So the Cairn cover up continues; this time, not just at the expense of the Arctic and the environment, but also at the expense of freedom of expression."

Twitter: @Greenpeace

Top Image Credit: © Matador