UK court issues injunction in Woods case

A British judge has barred journalists in the country from

publishing some material about golfer Tiger Woods.

An injunction issued Thursday even blocks media including The

Associated Press from revealing the details of the order itself. As

a result, media who obey the order cannot tell the public what they

have been barred from revealing.

News organizations based outside of the UK ignored the order,

however. The celebrity Web site TMZ published a copy of the

injunction.

The order was imposed Thursday afternoon by High Court Justice

David Eady after it was sought by Schillings, the firm representing

Woods in Britain.

London-based media lawyer Nigel Tait said such an injunction

would have been unlikely in the United States, where reporting on

the private lives of public figures is given greater

protection.

Britain has no formal privacy law but it is a signatory to the

European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right to

respect for privacy and family life. Celebrities have increasingly

used this clause to fight media exposes.

They also have sought redress in British laws governing libel,

which have traditionally been seen as friendlier to claimants than

those in the United States.

Many foreigners have sued the media over articles they would

likely have lost in their own countries. Libel laws in the United

States, for example, require someone to prove that an article was

both false and published maliciously. British law places the burden

of proof on the publisher.

Woods has been dogged by questions about his personal life in

the weeks since a car accident outside his home in the middle of

the night led to the release of sordid allegations about multiple

affairs.

The world’s No. 1 golfer issued a public apology after

disclosing his “personal failings” and acknowledged he had “not

been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves.”

Though he has appealed for privacy, allegations of illicit

liaisons by Woods have been regularly appearing in global

media.

This has been especially true in Britain, where the tabloid

press seized upon the story, offering a daily account of the number

of women who have claimed affairs with Woods, often along with the

purported details.

“The lawyers are trying to put a lid on these allegations, to

contain them before they get to a level that’s perhaps just

salacious,” media lawyer Ambi Sitham said. “Levels of privacy

still exist.”