December 11, 2014 Last Updated 11:32 am

African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights rules for journalist in defamation case

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights today ruled in the case of Konaté v. Burkina Faso that imprisonment for defamation violates the right to freedom of expression and that criminal defamation laws should only be used in restricted circumstances, mediadefence.org, the website of the Media Legal Defence Initiative, reported.

burkinafaso-featureThe case was brought on behalf of Lohé Issa Konaté, a journalist from Burkina Faso who was jailed for a year for newspaper reports in which he accused a prosecutor of corruption. The judgment is binding on African Union member States, where imprisonment for libel is rife, and will have major implications for media freedom across the continent.mediadefence.org

“This is a very good outcome. The African Court has aligned itself with consistent case law from the European and Inter-American Court by declaring that criminal defamation can only be resorted to under restricted circumstances. Justice has been done for our client, Mr Konaté. We are very pleased with the result,” MLDI Legal Director Nani Jansen said.

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