- Goal Diggers
- Guest Diggers
Two ministers, Lungu’s daughter sue Diggers over Mukula smuggling exposèBy Zondiwe Mbewe on 15 Jan 2020
Justice Minister Given Lubinda, his Lands counterpart Jean Kapata and President Edgar Lungu’s daughter Tasila have sued News Diggers Media Limited, its editor Mukosha Funga and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) in the Lusaka High Court, demanding damages for libel.
The three have sued Funga, News Diggers Media Limited and EIA as first, second and third respondents respectively, in connection to a story on illegal Mukula trade which was published in News Diggers! and derived from an EIA report.
Lubinda, Kapata and Tasila have lamented that their characters and reputations have been injured as a result of the said article which alleged that they are part of a Mukula Cartel engaged in the illegal harvesting and trade of Mukula logs.
They are now seeking an order of interim and permanent injunction restraining, Funga, News Diggers! and EIA from publishing similar libelous and malicious articles and opinions relating to them.
The three are also seeking damages against all the defendants for libel contained in News Diggers! newspaper’s edition of December 6, last year, titled “Lungu, Tasila in Mukula cartel” as well as damages against EIA for libel contained in its publication of December 2019, titled “Mukula cartel how timber trafficking networks plunder Zambian forests”.
Lubinda, Kapata and Tasila also want damages against the defendants for libel in News Diggers’ editorial opinions titled “Mukula smugglers are in govt, cartel members are exposing each other”, “Kampyongo said criminals like using his name, Kapata to smuggle Mukula. Why”, “Remember Kapata said Mukula proceeds were not remitted to Treasury” and “Tasila must learn from Henry Banda”, among other articles and opinions.
The trio is further seeking punitive and exemplary damages, interest and costs.
In a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court principal registry, Tuesday, Lubinda, Kapata, Tasila stated that on December 6 last year, the newspaper in its News Diggers! online and print newspaper, carried a front page headline story entitled “Lungu,Tasila in Mukula cartel” which was reported by Funga.
“The article published by News Diggers! alleged that the plaintiffs are part of a ‘Mukuka Cartel’ engaged in the illegal harvesting and trade of Mukula logs. The said article specifically read as follows; “an American based organisation called Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has released a report into smuggling of Mukula logs in Zambia, which has implicated President Edgar Lungu, his daughter Tasila, justice Minister Given Lubinda, his lands counterpart Jean Kapata and a traditional leader, among other influential figures’…” read the statement of claim in part.
“EIA’s publication was circulated globally through print and electronic media. EAI also circulated a video relating to the allegations in the aforesaid publication, and the plaintiffs will rely on the said publication and video to their full effect.”
The plaintiffs noted that News Diggers’ article, for the most part, cited EIA’s publication as the source of the information.
Lubinda and the other two others further stated that neither Funga nor the newspaper contacted them to verify or fact check the story, prior to its “sensational publication”.
“Notwithstanding the serious allegations contained in the said publication, the plaintiffs will aver that at no point, prior to the release and wide circulation of the EIA’s publication, were they given opportunities to give their side of the story, and thus to verify the information, as allegedly given by persons whose identies and names were not known,” read the statement of claim.
Lubinda, Kapata and Tasila lamented that consequently, in the eyes of ordinary members of the public, they had suffered ridicule, odium, contempt and embarrassment as the articles, opinions and publication complained of meant and were understood to mean that they were corrupt, do not care about poor Zambians, were thieves, morally bankrupt, selfish and were not fit to hold public office.
They added that the said articles, opinions and publication by the defendants were false and highly malicious.
The trio further stated that the non-verification or fact checking herein coupled with the criminal tagging of the plaintiffs and the general language used in the articles, opinions and publication propel the said articles, opinions and publications beyond fair commentary.
Lubinda, Kapata and Tasila stated that freedom of the press and media freedoms generally, do not entail discarding media or journalism ethics, scandalizing and humiliating other persons.
They added that all efforts to resolve the issues have failed.
About Zondiwe Mbewe
Zondiwe has interest in writing political and current affairs on issues which affect every Zambians.
Email: zondiwe [at] diggers [dot] news
- We need lockdown asap – Magande - 30 Mar 2020
- As a public body, NAPSA can’t sue for defamation, Diggers tells court - 30 Mar 2020
- HH writes Mambilima over safety of inmates during Covid-19 pandemic - 30 Mar 2020
- High Court keeps Spax in jail - 30 Mar 2020
- Kabwe council orders immediate closure of retail liquor stores - 30 Mar 2020
- Zambia's COVID-19 cases jump to 35 (19,370 views)
- Let’s sympathise with Lungu and help him, or we will all perish! (12,034 views)
- COVID-19 cases rise to 29 (6,665 views)
- High Court keeps Spax in jail (5,384 views)
- Cabinet debates total lockdown (4,424 views)
Subscribe for news email alerts
ArchivesApr0 PostsMay0 PostsJun0 PostsJul0 PostsAug0 PostsSep0 PostsOct0 PostsNov0 PostsDec0 Posts
- «March 2020»
- March 2020
- February 2020
- January 2020
- December 2019
- November 2019
- October 2019
- September 2019
- August 2019
- July 2019
- June 2019
- May 2019
- April 2019
- March 2019
- February 2019
- January 2019
- December 2018
- November 2018
- October 2018
- September 2018
- August 2018
- July 2018
- June 2018
- May 2018
- April 2018
- March 2018
- February 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- October 2016
Send this to a friend