A U.K. judge has issued an injunction banning media from posting on Facebook or Twitter any information that could expose the identity of a brain-damaged woman who may be removed from life support.
Handed down from the Court of Protection on May 12, the order prohibits individuals from publishing identifying information about the patient and her family.
According to the Telegraph, the ban applies to "any newspaper, magazine, public computer network, internet site, social network or media including Twitter or Facebook, sound or television broadcast or cable or satellite programme service."
"This is among the first injunctions specifically referring to Twitter and Facebook," intellectual property and media partner Keith Arrowsmith at law firm Ralli Solicitors told Reuters.
But will Twitter and Facebook, American companies, comply with the British court's order and remove content posted about the patient and her family? Not necessarily, international media lawyer Mark Stephens told the Independent.
"One would need to go to America to ask a US court to aid the British courts, which they would only be able to do if the order was found not to breach the First Amendment," said Stephens. "That is a long and convoluted process. Much more likely would be to bring proceedings against John Doe – persons unkonwn – and the site which published the material, forcing them to release the identity of whoever broke the injunction so that proceedings could then be brought against them."
The woman, known only as "M," suffered brain trauma in 2003 and has been in a "minimally conscious state" ever since.
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