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Benin: Mayor of Cotonou sues "Nord Sud Quotidien" director for USD $85,000

Léhady Soglo, mayor of Cotonou
Léhady Soglo, mayor of Cotonou

MFWA

This statement was originally published on mfwa.org on 20 May 2017.

Léhady Soglo – the mayor of Benin's economic capital Cotonou – has sued the publication director of Nord Sud Quotidien newspaper for defamation. Soglo is claiming 50 million CFA Francs (about USD $85,000) in compensation.

The suit follows a publication in the May 2, 2017 edition of Nord Sud Quotidien, which featured an analysis of Cotonou Metropolitan Council's interim financial audit report for the period June 2015-June 2016.

The publication titled "Audit of the management of the city of Cotonou: Why Talon is protecting Léhady" alleged that Soglo had mismanaged city affairs. It also accused Beninois president Patrice Talon of protecting him.

Soglo claimed that the publication contained inaccuracies and “false” allegations calculated to tarnish his image, and took legal action.

During an appearance in court on May 17, 2017, the management of the newspaper was made to pay a bond of 30,000 CFA Francs, (about USD $50), and the case was adjourned to May 31, 2017.

The MFWA is concerned about the suit against Nord Sud Quotidien and recommends the aggrieved party to resort to dispute resolution mechanism of the media regulatory body, Haute Autorite de l'Audiovisuel et la Communication (HAAC) to seek redress. We also take this opportunity to urge the media to avoid sensationalism and speculative reporting.

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