CEO of Rufftown Records, Ricky Nana Agyemang, popularly known as Bullet, has expressed frustration over the FDA’s ban on the advertisement of alcoholic beverages by celebrities in Ghana.
A case challenging a guideline by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) prohibiting celebrities from being used for advertising alcoholic products, was scheduled for today, November 15, 2023 at the Supreme Court.
Speaking in an interview after the proceedings, Bullet described the ban as a mere discrimination against Ghanaians, especially celebrities who are struggling to make ends meet.
In reference to the argument that children could be influenced by these celebrities to patronize alcohol, Bullet suggested that celebrities can also influence young ones to practice responsible drinking.
“I think it’s not fair. I mean, I think it’s discrimination against Ghanaians. I see it as discrimination because everybody’s supposed to eat. And I’m Ghanaian. Celebrities are Ghanaian. So you cannot sit in your office and come up with a law that will stop a Ghanaian from eating.
“They are talking about regulation and all of that. Okay. If I have that influence to influence a kid, it means this same person can tell a kid not to drink before he turns 18,” he stated.
Bullet further lamented that the ban has negatively affected the cash flow of many celebrities as sponsorships from alcoholic companies are currently low.
“It doesn’t make sense that we’ve invested a lot into music. I mean, we don’t even get alcoholic companies to sponsor our programs,” he fumed.
However, the case which was expected to be presided by a seven-member panel of judges has been adjourned to January 17.
Mark Darlington Osae, the artist manager of Reggie ‘N’ Bollie and Skrewfaze, filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame, citing the ban on celebrities endorsing alcohol-related products.
It can be recalled that the FDA prohibited celebrities from endorsing alcoholic products, an act which they deemed inappropriate influence to the youth.
Mark Darlington Osae submitted a writ of summons on November 11, 2022, claiming that the 2015 FDA recommendations are unfair to the creative arts sector.
“No well-known individual or professional may be utilised in advertising for alcoholic beverages; this is against the 1992 Constitution’s provisions 17(1) and 17 (2).
“Articles 17(1) and 17 (2) of the 1992 Constitution guarantee quality before the law and prohibit discrimination against persons on grounds of social or economic status, occupation, among others, and consequently null, void, and unenforceable,” the FDA guidelines read.
Prior to this lawsuit, a number of celebrities including Camidoh, Brother Sammy, Wendy Shay, Shatta Wale, and Kuami Eugene, spoke against the law and asked that regulations be repealed.