Selma Sues Ghanaian Chronicle
2006-05-15 15:31:03This article has been read 6818 times.Mrs Selma Alhassan Valcourt, a freelance journalist and broadcaster, has instituted legal action at an Accra High Court against General Portfolio Limited, publishers of The Ghanaian Chronicle, for libel.
Also joined to the suit are the acting Editor of The Ghanaian Chronicle and the author of the ‘Ahunabubirim’ column of the paper.
The plaintiff is claiming general damages in respect of a libellous publication in the Friday, April 21, 2006 issue of the paper.
She is also seeking an order of the court to compel the paper to retract the said defamatory words and render an apology on its front page, as well as on radio stations, with the same prominence that the said publication was given.
The plaintiff is also seeking costs and any other order the court may deem fit against the defendants.
The plaintiff contends per her statement of claim that on April 21, 2006, the defendants, in an article titled, "Presidential Sexcapades”, published in the Chronicle, the said material maliciously libelled her.
In the said article, the third defendant falsely and maliciously asserted that when Flt Lt J. J. Rawlings was the head of state, he had a child with the plaintiff, then an anchor at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC).
"And to make right-thinking members of the public to believe that the false and malicious statement being published was true, the third defendant further stated that ‘as would be expected, both the former head of state and Selma denied the allegation’," she said.
The plaintiff further contended that the said publication was intended to portray her as a dishonest, promiscuous and adulterous woman who had a child with a married man and tried to conceal it from her husband.
She further stated that she had had only one child, Omar Farouk Nagaya, now deceased, fathered by Alhaji Tijani Nagaya.
"That she never had any child with any other person, not even with Flt Lt Rawlings, former President of Ghana, besides her son Omar Farouk Nagaya, who is now deceased," she said.
She stated that since June 2, 1992, she had been married to Jean Gerard Valcourt, resident in the USA, with whom she had no child, and that her husband Mr Valcourt was aware that her only son was deceased.
The plaintiff contended that the said article, written by the third defendant, edited by the second defendant and published by the first defendant, represented a direct attack on her integrity and honesty as a married woman.
She further stated that the defendants failed, in their responsibility to authenticate the material published, by, among others, failing to cross check or investigate the matter, including contacting her or any authentic source before publishing the said defamatory words.
"The plaintiff further says that by not investigating before publishing the insinuations cast on her, the defendants defamed her with the sole objective of injuring her reputation as an honest and faithful woman.
“That she has received many calls after the publication, with questions being asked about the alleged child with Flt Lt Rawlings. That this has caused her great anguish, suffering and embarrassment,” the statement added.