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Nation Media Group to cough up Sh20m in libel case

By Kamau Muthoni | September 1st 2016

The High Court Roselyne Aburili ordered Nation Media Group (NMG) to pay a judge Sh20 million damages for defamation in June.

NMG was punished on June 29 this year for questioning why Lands and Environmental Court judge Samuel Mukunya's name was left out of a list of those who had applied for the position of judges in the High Court and the Supreme Court, based on an email which was claimed to be from Mount Kenya Law Society.

The regional bar association however disowned the email.

Nation had asked the court to settle the case at Sh2.8 million, saying that the Sh32 million prayer by the judge was excessive. The judge instead settled the dispute at a cost of Sh20 million, noting that the kind of article written by senior reporter Alphonce Shiundu depicted a misleading, biased, partisan and destructive press.

"What I have reproduced in this judgment as published and disseminated by the defendants concerning the plaintiff is in my view not suggestive of a fair and or responsible or objective press. It is suggestive of a misleading, biased, partisan and destructive press. It is a press that does not respect and or protect the dignity of persons," the judge ruled.

She noted that her colleague had built a reputation in the society over the years but the article meant that he was a person who could only get into a State office through favouritism. The Nation carried out two articles on Mukunya.

Aburili said that the second piece was justifying the earlier one instead of an apology.

Nation, however, told the court that the article was based on truth, justification and public interest.

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