“Daily Post” publishers ordered to pay US$180,000 in defamation suit

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) An Accra High Court has ordered the publishers of the Daily Post newspaper and its editor, Michael Dokosi, to pay an amount of GHC 800,000 (US$180,000) to a former Minister of State. The verdict follows an action for defamation brought by Hackman Owusu Agyemang, who is currently the Board Chairman of Ghana Cocoa Board, against the newspaper and one Mahama Haruna, an activist of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP). Michael Dokosi was found guilty on July 25, 2017 of defaming the former minister and ordered to…Read more

India’s Supreme Court bans reporting judge’s statements

An Indian Supreme Court order banning news media from quoting a judge who accused other senior judges of corruption is a troubling blow to freedom of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. A bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar yesterday sentenced CS Karnan, a judge at the Kolkata High Court, to six months in prison on charges of contempt of court and ruled that "no further statements made by him should be reported hereafter." The court in February 2016 stripped Karnan of his powers…Read more

After two-year trial, Ugandan journalists acquitted of criminal defamation

Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda The Chief Magistrates Court at Buganda Road has acquitted four journalists of criminal defamation and convicted the source of defamatory information. Madina Nalwanga and Patrick Tumwesigye of New Vision, and Benon Tugumiisirize and Ronald Nahabwe – formerly of Red Pepper – were found not “criminally liable” for what was published and had no intention to defame the complainants. However, the court found the provider of the information, Ssegawa Tamale, guilty. He will be sentenced on 17 March 2017 at 2:00 P.M “I am convinced by the evidence of A2…Read more

Fiji urged to abandon outdated sedition laws

Judicial partners should encourage the Fiji prosecution office to pull back from sedition charges against the country's leading newspaper, says PFF, the Pacific Freedom Forum. "Fiji's judiciary is again out of step with the rest of the region", says PFF Chair Monica Miller, speaking from American Samoa. "Colleagues from around the region need to extend what they've learn from many millions in aid spent on improving judicial services." Incitement Director of Public Prosecutions, Christopher Pryde, was this week given 21 days leave by the Fiji High Court to consider whether or not existing charges of…Read more

Kenya’s High Court declares criminal defamation unconstitutional

ARTICLE 19 welcomes the decision today by Kenya's High Court declaring Section 194 of the Penal Code, which creates the offence of criminal defamation, unconstitutional. ARTICLE 19, alongside Jaqueline Okuta and Jackson Njeru, petitioned the High Court in Nairobi that the provision was a disproportionate and unjustifiable limitation of freedom of expression. Jaqueline and Jackson had been charged under the section for publishing posts about a prominent Kenyan lawyer on a consumer protection Facebook page called 'Buyer Beware'. Jackson is an administrator of the page. Justice JM Mativo declared that Section 194 of…Read more

Zambia moves forward with Access to Information bill

MISA MISA Zambia welcomes the pronouncement by Justice Minister Given Lubinda at the 2017 Universal Periodic Review that the Access to Information bill is ready and that the government is working on systems that will readily avail the information to the public. The enactment of the ATI bill is long overdue as it has stalled since 2002 when it was presented to parliament, with successive governments-including the PF government in 2011, making vain promises which have not come to fruition. The announcement made by the Justice Minister is a positive step and MISA…Read more

Investigatory Powers Bill passed by UK Parliament

Society of Editors (UK) The House of Lords has voted to pass the Investigatory Powers Bill (IP) meaning that the legislation is now likely to be implemented within weeks. The Bill, which was passed earlier this week by the House of Commons without proposed amendments relating to costs orders in phone hacking cases, replaces the widely discredited Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill (RIPA). The Society of Editors, alongside other media organisations, had opposed the use of RIPA by police officers to access the communications data of journalists and their sources. Although the government…Read more

UK Government extends protections for journalists’ sources in IP Bill

Society of Editors The UK Government has extended protections for journalists and their sources to the Investigatory Powers Bill. The Bill, currently in the House of Lords for its third reading, has been widely criticised by the Society of Editors and other media organisations for its failure to protect journalistic material. The amendments will now see protections for journalists’ sources apply across the bill rather than just to applications to view telecoms records as was the case in previous drafts. The government has so far refused to allow prior notficiation to media organisations of…Read more