JOS NIGERIA: Central Nigerian Journalist, Masara Kim will on Monday resume trial on a case of defamation filed against him by a Professor of the University of Jos, Dimis Mailafiya.
In the story, the former campaign Director General to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s 2019 Governorship candidate, Senator Jeremiah Useni 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 Kim’s Solicitors, in followup to a memorandum of appearance filed in January 2019.
He was notified of the 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 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 without sentiments.
It was published after a chance for defence was offered to the complainant which was not exploited.
Masara Kim, Publisher, MK Reporters
The case scheduled for hearing on January 27, 2020 came up for first hearing on October 8, 2019.
At the sitting, the Plateau State High Court 4 hearing the case in Jos, granted journalists the right to report the case.
This was against the request of the Plaintiff, for journalists to be restrained 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 his client was challenging.
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 does not contravene any 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 Christene Dabup however ruled out the request, saying journalists had the right to report the case.
Dabup maintained that providing a contextual background into the case while reporting such was a normal and acceptable practice in journalism.
The case which came up for mention was adjourned from June 26, 2019.