General News of Wednesday, 23 May 2018
The Cocoa Buyers Association of Ghana has fought back attempts by Joy News to air an investigative documentary detailing massive cocoa theft through the adjustment of weighing scales by produce clerks.
They have filed an appeal, Wednesday seeking to overturn the High Court decision dismissing their earlier application for an injunction to restrain the airing of the Hotline documentary.
The ‘Missing Kilos’ documentary by the Multimedia Group Limited is an investigation by Joy News’ investigative journalist Kwetey Nartey which was due for broadcast in February 2018.
The documentary shows an instance where a 70kg bag of cocoa weighed variously at 56kg, 61kg, and 64kg because of fraudulent adjustment of scales.
Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has decried the stealing of cocoa beans and the investigative journalist has simply found evidence useful to the public.
But the License Buying Company (LBC) ran to court alleging the documentary “contains unfair and unverified allegations of crime made against the companies”.
They asked that the court restrains Multimedia Group from airing the documentary.
But Justice Anthony Yeboah in his ruling said blocking the airing of the documentary will amount to a pre-emptive censorship of unknown material.
He held that the Association can be adequately compensated if it wins the substantive defamation case after the airing of the video.
However, LBC has gone back to court saying the Judge erred in law when he decided to rule on the injunction application despite the fact that a motion had been filed by Multimedia asking that the defamation case should be dismissed.
According to them the day when the decision was delivered was not fixed for that ruling.
They also rely on portions of the Judge’s decision, which said the defamation case was not frivolous only to proceed to turn down the request for the injunction.
They want Appeals Court to set aside the ruling of the high court. But even before that is done, they want the court to put on hold the airing of this documentary till the appeal is decided.
Respecting their right to sue, Lawyer for The Multimedia Group, Samson Lardy Anyenini said: “it is good practice to not to show the documentary on the orders of the court.”
“I would always want that the integrity of the administration of justice should be upheld and these kinds of attitudes should be what entities like Multimedia Group should be showing,” he emphasised.