Public figures should not be too eager to rush to court — Murkomen

By Vincent Kejitan | Tuesday, Dec 17th 2019 at 13:34
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Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen on Tuesday advised leaders against rushing to court especially on commentaries regarding societal evils.

Responding to a tweet by Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi, Murkomen referred to a landmark freedom of the press case New York Times v. Sullivan.

In the case, L.B. Sullivan, who was in charge of police in Montgomery, Alabama, sued the NYT in 1964 for libel after the paper ran an advertisement that allegedly damaged the reputation of police.

Though he was not named in the advertisement, he argued that the false statements it contained about police had injured his reputation.

In the Alabama court, Sullivan won his case and the New York Times was ordered to pay $500,000 in damages.

The Times later appealed the decision to the United States Supreme Court arguing that it had no intention of hurting L.B. Sullivan.

In a unanimous decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the New York Times.

In order to prove libel, a “public official” must show that the newspaper acted “with ‘actual malice’–that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard” for truth.

This comes after Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru threatened to take legal action against King Kaka for defaming her in his song Wajinga Nyinyi.

The governor, through her advocates, ordered the rapper to issue an apology and pull down the song on social media platforms.

Ahmednassir, however, reiterated that he would defend King Kaka in court saying: “I said and I repeat..I will give legal representation to @RabbitTheKing against ANYONE who sues him for the lyric #Wajinganyiyi.

“I'm of the considered view that no one amongst the ruling elites or the masses was defamed. UGLY, CRASS and LEWD commentaries on soceity are PRIVILEGED.”

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