16 October 1997


Three journalists and distributor charged with libel

Incident details

Kwesi Biney, Gordon George-Iroro, Steve Mallory, Frank Awuah


legal action

(WAJA/IFEX) - Kwesi Biney, a journalist with the "African
Observer" news magazine, was charged, together with journalist
Gordon George-Iroro, editor and publisher Steve Mallory, and
Frank Awuah, the distributor of the "African Observer" in Ghana,
with intentional libel. They were said to have acted together in
September 1997 with a common purpose to publish, unlawfully,
defamatory remarks concerning Attorney General Dr. Obed Asamoah.

Biney was the only accused person to appear before the Regional
Tribunal in Accra on 15 October. He was granted bail in the sum
of 10 million cedis (about US$ 4,000). The tribunal, chaired by
Mr. G. Wright-Mensah, also requested the prosecution to serve
Mallory, who resides in the United States of America, with the
action through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The accused published the alleged defamatory remarks in the 4-10
September edition of the "African Observer". The remarks said
that "Dr. Asamoah has learnt nothing about integrity and still
resorts to the old tricks he applied whilst struggling to
practise law - using his toe to fake [a] thumb print".

Chief state attorney Thomas Ahlijah said the accused persons
imputed wrongdoing and contempt by stating in that edition of the
magazine that "Ghanaians know when they see a corrupt person and
the people's verdict on Dr. Asamoah is clear: He is dirty".

As for Awuah, Ahlijah said he delivered for sale to the public
copies of the "African Observer" which contained the alleged
defamatory remarks concerning Dr. Asamoah.

The case has been adjourned until 22 October.



IFEX members working in this country 1

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