World Vision sues doctor for defamation

World Vision Zambia Limited has dragged a medical doctor to court, seeking damages for defamation after he alleged that the organisation infringed his copyright in the Safe Motherhood Action Groups (SMAGs) model.

Dr Beck Banda is alleged to have given an interview to Daily Nation newspaper on November 22, 2018, where he alleged that World Vision Zambia had infringed his copyright in the SMAGs Model.

In that interview, Banda allegedly said he had tried his best to engage institutions such as the Ministry of Health, World Vision Zambia and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) which were allegedly infringing on his rights, but since they all decided not to cooperate, he was left with no option but to take the matter to court.

“I have now instructed lawyers to initiate legal proceedings against all those who are infringing on SMAGs because I own the copyright and my work cannot be used without prior permission or consent,” he had said in an interview with the Daily Nation.

And in an interview with QTV in December 2018, Dr Banda further demanded K13,000,000 from World Vision for the same infringement.

However, in a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court, January 25, World Vision stated that the said words in their natural and ordinary meaning were understood to mean that the organisation was guilty of copyright infringement and violation of the laws of Zambia.

It further stated that the said words were false because Dr Banda was not the copyright holder, adding that the organisation had at no time infringed any copyright in the SMAGs model.

World Vision stated that when Dr Banda made a claim of copyright infringement against the organisation in May last year, it requested for the allegedly infringed SMAGs Model but he had to date failed or neglected to avail them the said infringed material.

It stated that by reason of the publication of the words complained of, the organisation had been injured in its credit and reputation and had been brought into public scandal, contempt and ridicule.

“Dr Banda published or caused to be published the words complained of knowing them to be false or recklessly, not caring whether they were true or false or with no honest belief that they were true. In doing so, Dr Banda was actuated by the dominant motive of damaging the organisation and its business,” read the statement of claim.

“By reason of the publication of the words complained of, the organisation has been injured in its credit and reputation and had been brought into public scandal, contempt and ridicule. Unless restrained by this honourable court, the defendant will further publish or cause to be published the words complained of or similar words defamatory of the organisation.”

World Vision is now claiming damages for slander and libel, aggravated damages, an injunction to restrain Dr Banda from further publishing or causing to be published the said or any similar defamatory words, costs and any other relief the court may deem fit.

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Anonymous

Hi Zondiwe, I would like to clarify that I am not a medical doctor. I am Doctor of Public Health. I have not received any correspondence yet on the Issue. But I look forward to put the records straight on my SMAGS innovation. Thanks

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