Ghana: Media threatened with defamation suits over judicial scandal publications


A lawyer representing a group of judges implicated in a recent corruption scandal in Ghana has threatened that his clients will sue media organisations which publish the documentary video on the scandal.

The lawyer, Nii Kpakpo Addo, issued the threats on privately-owned Citi FM in Accra on November 18, 2015.

“Monday or Tuesday, you will see that we will be bringing up defamation suits that will touch on every single person that has been associated with the said petition, who has republished the defamatory material,” Addo said. “Republication of defamatory materials itself is defamation, so whether you uttered it or you republished it, you should be prepared to meet us in court.”

The MFWA correspondent reported that the video, which shows about 34 judges allegedly taking bribes to influence cases they were handling, was put together by Ghana’s investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, who subsequently petitioned the president to sack the judges and judicial staff involved.

If the threat is carried out, it will affect a large section of the media, given the widespread and intensive publication and commentary on the matter in the Ghanaian media.

On September 18, another judge implicated in the scandal, Justice Paul Uuter Dery, filed a motion on notice for committal for contempt against Anas and four others including the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah, for partnering Tiger Eye PI to screen the videos publicly in Accra.

Although the contempt case was dismissed, the judge successfully restrained the defendants from showing the video in Kumasi, Ghana’s second largest city.

The MFWA call on the media in Ghana not to be distracted or intimidated by the threats, but to go about their duties without fear, while observing the highest professional standards.

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