Posted by: becketfund | December 11, 2008

Namibia: High Court Charges Newspaper for Defaming Church

WINDHOEK – Namibian newspaper The Southern Times has been ordered by the High Court to pay N$60,000 (US $6,000) in damages against the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God on charges of defamation, the Informante reported on December 11. The lawsuit stems from an article published by The Southern Times on 4 December 2005, in which the newspaper reported that a ‘Satanic sect’ had been banned by State. The story was accompanied by a large photograph of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God’s (UCKG) building, located in Windhoek’s Ausspannplatz area. However, inside the edition it was reported that the ban had actually been placed in Zambia. The High Court on December 9, presided over by Acting Judge Annel Silungwe, maintained the use of photographs of the UCKG building would have given a reasonable reader the impression that the Church was a ‘controversial sect,’ and that “taking the offending publication as a whole, a reasonable reader would readily find that the material is defamatory of the plaintiff (UCKG) … It is inescapable to find that the material complained of is defamatory of the plaintiff.”

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