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Court exonerates "Daily Guide" newspaper of defamation charges

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 27 February 2009, an Accra High Court exonerated Western Publications Limited, publishers of the Accra-based privately-owned "Daily Guide" newspaper, on libel charges brought against it by Ghana's Foreign Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni.

The court, presided over by Justice K. A. Acquaye, awarded 1,000 GH Cedis (approx. US$800) each in favour of the defendants.

In April 2004, Mumuni brought charges of defamation against managing editor Gina Blay, former deputy editor Ebenezer Ato Sam, and Western Publications Limited in relation to a published article claiming that the minister had engaged in criminal misconduct between 1997 and 2001 when Mumuni was then minister of Mobilization and Social Welfare. The newspaper's article stemmed from an Interim Audit Report. However, the final report confirmed the earlier information published by the newspaper.

According to the court, the newspaper published the truth and in no way did it defame the minister.

Godfred Yeboah Dame, counsel for the "Daily Guide", described the judgement as an affirmation of good governance and suggested that it would empower the media to publish without fear and intimidation.

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