In the space of 24 hours the Sunday Herald has gone from being the only mainstream newspaper to name Ryan Giggs as the footballer at the heart of the super-injunction controversy to being the first of many.
Immediately after an English court yesterday ludicrously threw out an attempt by The Sun to have the super-injunction lifted, Giggs was named in Parliament by Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming. Then by Sky News, the Mirror, the Financial Times, the Telegraph, the Independent ... the list will be growing ever longer as you read this.
Of course we could not have foreseen how events would play out when we decided on Saturday night to publish Giggs’s photograph on our front page and to name him inside the paper, although hand on heart it was even then difficult to imagine the super-injunction holding out for much longer.
Our decision was not without risk but allowing the surreal situation surrounding super-injunctions to continue unchallenged was risking the ability of the press to do its job and undermining the principle of freedom of speech.
In a sense, the Sunday Herald was lucky. We are normally on sale at only a handful of English shops relatively close to the Border and it was easy to ensure they did not receive Sunday’s issue.
We could make sure the offending name was not published on the internet. By restricting publication to Scotland we made sure that we fell outwith the jurisdiction of the super-injunction granted in England.
But, of course, just because we could identify Giggs did not necessarily mean that we should do so.
Let’s be honest. In the normal course of events the Sunday Herald would have had barely a passing interest in the allegations being levelled at the football player. In all likelihood we would have published not a word on the matter.
However, as events progressed last week it increasingly felt as if we had entered the twilight zone. Newspapers were being prevented by the courts from reporting information easily obtained on the internet and of which many (most?) readers were already aware. That information was being published by newspapers abroad, and commented on by blogs from America and elsewhere.
At the same time there were increasingly strident calls from various celebrities for more restrictive laws that would have made it even harder for the British press to fulfil its responsibilities to its readers. It seemed to us that situation was unsustainable and the insanity at its heart should be exposed.
We hoped that by printing Giggs’s photograph and name we would further fuel the debate around privacy laws. We certainly succeeded.
We knew our front page would be picked up by other media. That was, after all, the point in publishing it. But the scale of the reaction came as a surprise.
I emerged from bed just after 10.30am on Sunday (hey, I was working very late the night before) and switched on my mobile. The calls started within seconds. They hadn’t stopped by last night, when I switched the phone off.
I answered questions from journalists from all over the world, many of whom were baffled by the legal situation in Britain.
The reaction online was even more staggering. Our front page -- banned in England -- was photographed and shared on Twitter. It attracted hundreds of thousands of hits. The support was welcome and helped to strengthen our resolve.
Today the Sunday Herald is as certain as we were on Saturday evening that we took the right course of action and the risks were worth taking.
But the naming of Ryan Giggs is not the end of the matter; it merely signals the start of an overdue and essential debate on the balance between privacy and the public interest in the new media age. A debate that takes a serious look at what privacy can mean in the age of Twitter and Facebook. A debate that looks at the world as it really is rather than how judges would prefer it to be.
If the Sunday Herald has in any way hastened that debate, we’re glad to have helped.