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General News of Sunday, 22 December 2019

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Media houses that engaged in big legal battles over their works in 2019


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It’s been a very heated year with some media houses being slapped with lawsuit for alleged defamatory publications or broadcast.

Let's take a trip down memory lane!

1. Despite Group of Companies

In April, investigative Journalist with Tiger Eye PI, Anas Aremeyaw Anas filed a suit against the Despite Group of Companies and two employees with its subsidiary, Okay FM for defamation.

According to the writ, the second and third defendants (Kwame Nkrumah and Kwame Amoh) broadcasted and published and or caused to be broadcasted on Okay FM (a radio station belonging to the first defendant – Despite Group), defamatory comments against Anas and his associates during a discussion on investigative documentaries on their programme entitled Ade Akye Abia.

Anas, among other things, sought damages including costs and lawyer fees.

Away from the Anas suit, CEO of Engineers and Planners Ibrahim Mahama in October won a defamation case against the Despite Group and Ernest Owusu Bempah, Communications Director of the Ghana National Gas Company after the business mogul sued them last year.

The court presided by Justice Georgina Mensah Datsa granted all the reliefs except the cost of ¢2 million which the judge awarded ¢300,000.

2. Multimedia Group Limited

In April, Anas also sued the Multimedia Group Limited and three of its staff for defamation. Anas asked for damages including costs, lawyers fees over comments made by the Assin Central Member of Parliament Kennedy Agyapong, on February 26, 2019.

According to Anas, the comments injured his reputation as a lawyer and globally acclaimed investigative journalist.

"In consequence, the plaintiff's reputation, especially as a lawyer and a globally acclaimed investigative journalist, has been egregiously damaged and he has suffered debilitating distress and embarrassment. Further, he has been inundated with numerous calls from business associates, journalists’ associations around the world, social relations and friends and outright strangers, and he has had to answer very mortifying questions,” the writ read.

The suit further argued that the three Multimedia staff: Benjamin Kwabena Asante (presenter of Adom TV and host of Badwam Mpensempensemu), Dominic Kissi Yeboah (television programme producer at Adom TV and producer of Badwam Mpensempensemu) and Abdulai Awudu (General Manager of Multi TV) allowed the defamatory material to be published about him by Mr Agyapong.

The comments, the suit argued were understood to mean that the plaintiff is a criminal engaged in illegal mining, a nation wrecker, an evil person, bribery, corruption, extortion and impersonation of Army officers; adding that the defendants did nothing to prevent or stop their guest from publishing the defamatory words and went on to upload the programme and its contents onto their various Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) on the World Wide Web.

Prior to this, the Multimedia Group and its staff Manasseh Azure had been sued by De-Eye over a documentary which suggested that the group was training and operating from the Osu Castle.

In a writ, De-Eye group contended that the JoyNews documentary – Militia in the Heart of the Nation - showing its members marching on the Castle gardens was defamatory.

The group said the reference to it as a militia group in the JoyNews documentary is slanderous hence, wanted a compensation of 10 million Ghana cedis paid to it alongside a retraction and apology from JoyNews and Manasseh and same published on the station and the Daily Graphic.

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