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$10K Damages for Facebook Comments

  In the first Fijian case of defamation involving comments made on social media – the Civil High Court has ordered damages of $10,000 to an individual. Fiji Fashion Week
19 Jan 2017 12:44
$10K Damages for Facebook Comments
Emmanuel Narayan.,Emosi Radrodro.

 

In the first Fijian case of defamation involving comments made on social media – the Civil High Court has ordered damages of $10,000 to an individual.

Fiji Fashion Week and its managing director, Ellen Whippy-Knight had taken a former radio announcer, Emosi Radrodro who also goes by the name Amoz Walsh Radrodro and Prince Radrodro on Facebook, for comments he made against the company and Mrs Whippy-Knight personally.

Interestingly, neither Radrodro nor his lawyer, Isireli Ramanu of MIQ Lawyers were present in court yesterday.

Representing Mrs Whippy-Knight and Fiji Fashion Week was Emmanuel Narayan of renowned Suva law firm, Patel Sharma Lawyers.

High Court Judge Justice Brito Mutunayagam ruled that comments made by Radrodro directed at Mrs Whippy-Knight directly alleging that she hooked up young models with rich older men were defamatory and libellous.

For such comments and other related comments directed at Mrs Whippy-Knight, Radrodro has been ordered to pay her $10,000.

He has also been ordered to pay a further $2500 in court costs.

Justice Mutunayagam also found that comments Radrodro made on his various Facebook pages directed at Fiji Fashion Week were neither defamatory nor libellous.

For bringing this action against Radrodro, Fiji Fashion Week was ordered to pay him $2000 in court costs.

Justice Mutunayagam also stated in court that Radrodro’s reasons that he was not the source of the comments he had posted on his Facebook pages, and that some other individual called Joseph Raga had informed him of it did not absolve him of his responsibility towards the comments that he made, which was widely circulated.

This has been the first case whereby an individual was taken to task for defamatory comments made on social media.

This precedence setting case will no doubt act to remind members of the public that comments made on social media did not mean that they could not be taken to task.

Mrs Whippy-Knight is away overseas and could not be reached for comments.

When Fiji Sun reached out to Radrodro through Facebook, where he had been very active over the past week, he did not respond.

Media Industry Development Authority chair, Ashwin Raj, welcomed the decision yesterday.

Mr Raj said: “The decision made by the Court has set an important precedent that crucially reminds us that our constitutional right to freedom of speech, expression and publication does not give one the right to incriminate or denigrate or attack the dignity of individuals or communities and underscores the importance of exercising diligence when engaging with various media platforms including the social media.”

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 



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