MBC challenges JB court victory

Tax payer-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) is launching a Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal challenge against last week’s High Court ruling ordering it to pay damages for defaming former President Joyce Banda.

The institution feels the case was not “fairly heard” and instead it is taking the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

MBC, alongside Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa, were sued in 2015 by the former President for alleged defamation.

Court ruled in her favour: Banda

The taxpayer-financed institution was sued for airing live and rebroadcasting remarks made by Nankhumwa during a memorial service for former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika in May 2015 at Ndata Farm in Thyolo.

The minister quoted an October 2011 publication of The Eye Witness that Mutharika’s death was arranged by some people under a project code-named ‘The JB Project’.

Mutharika ruled Malawi between 2004 and 2012 when he died while in office due to cardiac arrest.

After over two years, the High Court in Blantyre finally ruled in favour of Banda, who has been in self-exile since losing the May 2014 presidential poll, and ordered the two institutions to pay her damages besides awarding her costs of the action.

But lawyer representing MBC Chancy Gondwe yesterday said the public broadcaster was challenging the High Court decision because it was not satisfied with the outcome.

“I have indeed been instructed to proceed filing an appeal case with the Supreme Court and that will be done anytime within the six-week prescribed period. My client expects a positive judgement at the Supreme Court,” he said.

He, however, declined to give further details on the appeal case.

According to court documents, Banda argued that the remarks that he plotted Mutharika’s death had damaged her reputation and caused her distress and embarrassment. n

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