A Plateau State High Court sitting in Jos, on Tuesday granted the right to report the ongoing defamation case against MK Reporters Publisher, Masara Kim.
This was against the request of the Plaintiff, Prof. Dimis Mailafiya seeking to restrain journalists from reporting the matter.
Counsel to the Plaintiff, Barr. A.A Ibrahim of M. Y. Saleh (SAN) and Co law firm had told the Court that reporting the proceeding was reheating the “defamatory report” which they were contending.
The Defense Counsel, Nanle Komak of Komak Law Company, Jos however argued that journalists have a duty to report any matter of public interest provided such an act does not contravene the provisions of the law.
“Journalists have always reported issues in the society including Court cases and this should not be an exception,” he said.
The Plaintiff’s Counsel insisted that reporting the court proceeding was not just the problem but making reference to old reports linking his client to corruption.
The presiding Judge, Justice Christine Dabup however ruled out the request, saying journalists had the right to report the case.
Dabuk maintained that providing a contextual background into the case while reporting such was a normal and acceptable practice in journalism.
The case which was mentioned for the first time at the High Court 4, Jos was adjourned from June 26, 2019.
Kim was dragged to court in January 2019, over a news report he published on his news blog, www.masarakimsblog.com in October 2018, wherein the Sen. Jeremiah Useni campaign DG was accused of collecting a N2m bribe to back a supposedly unpopular running mate for his boss.
A statement of defence and motion seeking to strike out the case was filed in May 2019, by his Solicitors, in followup to a memorandum of appearance filed in January 2019.
He was issued a notice of intention to go to court in November 2018 by Prof. Mailafiya’s Councils, M.Y Saleh (SAN) & Co law firm.
At the expiration of the grace period within which the said defamatory news story was expected to be retracted, Kim was served a writ of summons in January 2019.
The University of Jos Professor of Economics is demanding a N50,000,000.00 relief for the offense, a retraction and an order restraining the Publisher of www.mkreporters.media from publishing any further ‘defamatory’ story against him.
Kim is however contending that the news report in question is not assertive and was published with no ill-will after offering a chance for defence which was not exploited by the complainant.
The case has been scheduled for proper hearing on January 27, 2020.