Nigerian newspaper publisher The Sun Publishing Limited is being sued by its editorial board chairman for libel. Making it even more upsetting for the company, the publisher claims that it found out about the lawsuit over social media.
The editorial board chairman, Sam Omatseye, accused the company, which publishes The Sun and the New Telegraph, of libeling him with the Oct. 13 story “Call Omatseye to order, Kalu tells Tinubu,” according to The Sun. The article was published in both newspapers.
The article reported that “eminent businessman and former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu” complained about Omatseye using “foul language” about him in a column. Kalu’s representatives slammed Omatseye, saying, “We wonder how a supposedly seasoned writer and editorial board chair could not distinguish between propaganda and purely professional reportage in his pecuniary bohemianism. This is, indeed, unprofessionalism demonstrated by rascally Omatseye.” Kalu’s representatives went on to further criticize Omatseye and even went so far as to characterize him as having “bovine intelligence” and “intemperate use of language.”
The Sun complained that it was “wrong practice” and “pathetic” for the newspaper to only find out about the lawsuit online. The Sun Publishing Limited’s general counsel Dr. Obinna Kalu issued a statement, saying, “Ordinarily, we would have ignored the existence of the suit in the social media, but for our teaming readers and well-wishers, we found it necessary to state as follows: It is a wrong practice to file a suit in court against a person(s) and proceed to publish the process of such suit on the internet without taking legal steps to serve the defendant of such process. The Sun Publishing Limited, which is the purported defendant in the suit, is yet to be served with” the lawsuit.
He added, “It is very pathetic that The Sun Publishing Limited had to learn of the existence of a suit against it in the social media when its offices are all over the country.”
iMediaEthics has written to Omatseye’s lawyer, Festus Keyamo, to ask for more information about the lawsuit and the newspaper’s claims it learned about it over social media.
We’ve also reached out to The Sun to ask if Omatseye is still working for the newspaper and to learn if it has received the lawsuit yet.