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Bloomberg EIC Micklethwait: Court ruling is dangerous

February 16, 2022

Posted by Chris Roush

John Micklethwait

Bloomberg News editor in chief John Micklethwait writes about the British Supreme Court decision that allows a company executive under investigation to keep his name out of print.

Micklethwait writes, “Today the Supreme Court found in ZXC’s favor, and that his brush with the law should be kept quiet.

“The significance of this judgment for freedom of speech is well hidden amid the 51 pages. A lot of the judgment is arcane, dealing with earlier court decisions and some of it criticizing Bloomberg. For instance, the justices fault our reporters for saying they had seen a letter of request about ZXC from the investigative authorities to a foreign counterpart, rather than saying they actually had a copy. They also question whether we had adequately engaged with the investigative authorities before publishing the material.

“I am not going to claim that we at Bloomberg got everything right, and for the record, we have never said that ZXC is guilty of anything. But wade through all the legalese, and the core of today’s judgment is devastatingly simple: In the court’s view, the privacy of this powerful person needed to be protected — and that trumped any public interest in our publishing the information in the letter of request.

“Let’s be clear about what privacy means in this case. This was not a story about what most of us might see as ZXC’s private life — a picture of his children, his health details, his romantic history. This was reporting on his business activities — and an investigation by the authorities into possible malfeasance at a huge company that could have an effect on many people who invested in it.”

Read more here.

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