Lessons in censorship from the Trafigura case

The ongoing sage over Trafigura has been all over the news in the last week or so.

It’s a sage of toxic waste dumping, legal fights, injunctions, super-injunctions and a media storm that demonstrates that these days, it’s hard to hide a big story.

But Twitter and other forms of social media are not a cure-all for legal threats to stop information being published.

In this case newspapers have been forced to remove pages from websites, says WikiLeaks, and gag orders apparently still exist.

The story up until a few days ago is here.

Not only are Trafigura now associated in the public eye with the dumping of toxic waste in Africa, they are now also associated with using media lawyers to censor the press.

When in a hole, it’s often best to stop digging.

UPDATE: In the interests of fairness, I just read this piece, which casts doubt on whether the waste dumped in Abijan in 2006, actually killed anyone, or injured many. It’s worth a read. However dangerous the waste really was, the company has still handled things badly. Defending yourself robustly is one thing, and requires engaging in the debate. But over-reaction means the company’s name is now forever associated with very negative acts.

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