Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal ran a story revealing that the U.K. government planned to implicate as many as 24 people in a criminal fraud case related to the Libor scandal.
And the Journal named names.
That’s when British prosecutors stepped in, obtaining a court order “prohibiting the newspaper from publishing names of individuals not yet made public in the government’s ongoing investigation,” the Journal’s Cassell Bryan-Low reported. From the paper’s explanation:
The Journal received word of the order from the SFO by email at 7:18 p.m. London time. The news organisation already had published on Dow Jones Newswires and the Journal’s website, WSJ.com, an article by Mr. Enrich and reporter Jenny Strasburg that divulged names of traders and brokers that British prosecutors expect to publicly name next week. The article was taken down from the website but appears in Friday’s print editions of the Journal circulated in the U.S. and in Asia.
As ZeroHedge noted, a casual Internet search (or just, you know, picking up the U.S. version of the physical newspaper) would reveal the names British prosecutors want to conceal.
But press freedom in Britain differs greatly from the U.S. “In the U.S., court orders preventing media from reporting something are exceedingly rare, and typically would be considered only in exceptional circumstances involving, for example, threats to national security,” Bryan-Low writes.