Pub­li­ca­tion of Pho­to­graphs of For­mer Em­ploy­ees Is Not Defam­a­tory: Court

Fiji Sun - - Fiji Today - JY­OTI PRAT­I­BHA Edited by Maraia Vula Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

Prece­dence has been set by the Civil High Court in Suva re­gard­ing pub­li­ca­tion of pic­tures of for­mer em­ploy­ees by em­ploy­ers. Car­pen­ters Fiji Lim­ited was sued by for­mer em­ployee Ma­hen­dra Ku­mar for pub­lish­ing his photo in the two dailies af­ter he re­signed from the com­pany in 2010. Judge Jus­tice A.L.B. Brito-Mu­tu­nayagam ruled that advertisement pub­lished by Car­pen­ters Fiji Lim­ited was not defam­a­tory. Rep­re­sent­ing Car­pen­ters Fiji Lim­ited in this land­mark case was Em­manuel Narayan of renowned Suva firm Pa­tel Sharma Lawyers. Rep­re­sent­ing Mr Ku­mar in this mat­ter was lawyer Am­rit Sen. This case has set prece­dence and has ruled that pub­li­ca­tion of pho­to­graphs of for­mer em­ploy­ees is not defam­a­tory. The ac­tion stemmed from the advertisement of Mr Ku­mar’s photo in the dailies paid for by Car­pen­ters Fiji Lim­ited which stated that Mr Ku­mar was no longer em­ployed by Car­pen­ters Mo­tors and that the com­pany would not be re­spon­si­ble for any trans­ac­tions or deal­ings that Mr Ku­mar may have car­ried out on be­half of Car­pen­ters Mo­tors. Mr Narayan suc­cess­fully ar­gued in court that was an advertisement, it was not deroga­tory and was not de­signed to cause Mr Ku­mar dis­re­pute and was not done ma­li­ciously. He ar­gued that the com­pany was protecting its in­ter­est. He also ar­gued that place­ment of such ad­ver­tise­ments were ac­cepted busi­ness and com­mer­cial prac­tice and in the pub­lic in­ter­est. Jus­tice Brito-Mu­tu­nayagam also noted that in his res­ig­na­tion let­ter, Mr Ku­mar had stated that he con­tem­plated join­ing “op­po­si­tion in a very near fu­ture”. This case has set a prece­dence and has ruled that pub­li­ca­tion of pho­to­graphs of for­mer em­ploy­ees is not defam­a­tory.

Em­manuel Narayan.

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