BELARUSIAN businessman Alexander Zingman’s lawyers have written to News Diggers Media Limited requesting it to confirm where or whom it obtained photographs of their client.
According to a letter of demand addressed to News Diggers editor-in-chief Joseph Mwenda and reporter Sipilisiwe Ncube, Zingman, through his lawyers from Daniel L. Delnero and Squire Patton Boggs law firm based in the UK, is demanding that News Diggers should within two working days of receiving the letter, remove the Article, including the e-Paper version from the website and provide them with evidence of the same.
News Diggers has further been asked to disclose where or whom it obtained the photographs of Zingman and further to provide an apology to be published on the website.
Zingman’s lawyers stated that News Diggers had contravened their client’s right to privacy by publishing the photographs of him without his permission.
“You cannot continue to publish untrue and defamatory articles about our client (especially of this magnitude) without any consequence. This is a wholly unprofessional way for you to conduct business. You must within two working days of your receipt of the email attaching this letter; remove the Article (including the e-Paper version) from your website and provide us with evidence of the same,” read the letter of claim.
“Thereafter, within seven days of the date of this letter, you are required to; (a) confirm whether you are aware of the Article being reposted/republished by any third parties, and provide us with any details you have for those third parties; (b) confirm from where or whom you obtained the photographs of our client; (c) provide the text of an apology to be published on your website, for agreement by our client; (d) cease and desist from publishing any further untruthful and defamatory comments (whether oral or written) about Mr Zingman.”
They stated that should News Diggers fail to comply with the said requirements, Zingman reserved the right to issue proceedings against the media house for an order for the removal of the Article; an appropriate sum in damages to acknowledge the loss and damage caused to Zingman’s reputation, and in respect of any financial loss he may suffer; and an appropriate sum in damages to compensate him for the misuse of his private information and for any breach of copyright.
On May 28, 2020, News Diggers published an investigation linking President Edgar Lungu to Zingman who, according to the Business News Line publication of March 25, 2020, is associated with questionable deals between Russian dealers and African countries.
It also published photographs where President Lungu is seen with Defence Permanent Secretary Sturdy Mwale, Zambia Air Force Commander Lt Gen David Muma and Defence attaché at the Zambian Embassy in Moscow, Lt Gen Robert Kampeshi, posing with the said businessman.
On another photograph, the Belarusian businessman is seen holding the shoulders of Gen Muma and PS Mwale while Lusaka businessman Valden Findlay and Lt Gen Kampeshi are looking into the camera.