NEWS

Negative Comments Were Defamatory, Disheartening: FBC Boss Tells High Court

"Negative comments about me, family, sibling, my character, integrity, and my responsibility to my organisation were defamatory and disheartening," Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum tells High Court.
16 Jun 2022 10:42
Negative Comments Were Defamatory, Disheartening: FBC Boss Tells High Court
Fijian Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) chief executive officer Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum with his lawyer Emmanuel Narayan outside the Civil High Court in Suva on June 15, 2022. Photo: Ashna Kumar

Fijian Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) chief executive officer Riyaz Sayed-Khai­yum says that negative comments against him have been defamatory and disheartening.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum testified at the Civil High Court in Suva as he gave evidence in a defamation case he filed against former National Fed­eration Party (NFP) provisional candidate, Feroz Gulam Moham­med.

“Negative comments about me, family; sibling, my character, integ­rity; and my responsibility to my organisation were defamatory and disheartening,” Mr Sayed-Khai­yum said.

Facebook

Mohammed is alleged to have made defamatory claims against Mr Sayed-Khaiyum on a Facebook page that was accessible to a wide audience.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum is seeking damages, injunction, and costs in this case.

He was represented by lawyers Emmanuel Narayan and Sandeep Lal from Patel Sharma Lawyers while Mohammed, who was in New Zealand, was represented by law­yer Gavin O’Driscoll.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum sued Moham­med for posting articles claiming that he looted FBC while sharing a media article that wrote about FBC’s recorded losses between 2010 and 2015.

Mohammed was also sued for posting comments questioning the Prime Minister on why the major­ity of Muslims were getting high­ranked jobs in Government and that “people like Faiz Khan and Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum were failed humans given top jobs”.

The two articles were posted on Mohammed’s Facebook page on May 16 and July 17 in 2018.

Trial

The matter was called before Judge Justice Javed Mansoor at the trial on Wednesday.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum took the stand at the trial as the plaintiff’s first witness.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum testified that the articles described him as a cor­rupt and dishonest individual.

He said he worked his way up to earn his position and such degrad­ing comments affected his reputa­tion, family; and reputable com­pany.

He further added that this case was of importance because, currently, these types of unreg­ulated actions of people making defamatory comments against cer­tain individuals on a domain that was accessed globally were com­mon.

In cross-examination, Mr Sayed ­Khaiyum was asked whether his income was affected due to the comments made by Mohammed.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum told the court that his reputation was more im­portant than his financial status.

Witness

The second witness was the head of the Digital Forensic Team, Po­lice officer Samuela Finau.

He testified that the findings were that the Facebook page on which the comments were published be­longed to Mohammed.

The third witness, FBC Director Human Resources Janice Singh told the court that on the day of the incident, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum was confined to his office and he was not his usual self.

She also testified that there were mixed feelings among the FBC staff and she had to conduct a one­on-one session with the staff for clarifications.



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