Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes has sued Guyana Publications Inc (GPI) and columnist Anand Goolsarran over statements published in the April 15th edition of Stabroek News where it was stated that she was in breach of the Integrity Commission Act as a result of a contract which her company, Videomega was given by the Department of Energy (DoE).
In her statement of claim filed yesterday Hughes is claiming damages in excess of $20m for alleged libel in the April 15, 2019 edition. She is also seeking a “permanent injunction” restraining GPI and Goolsarran from causing the words complained of to be printed or published.
In a comment, Stabroek News Editor-in-Chief Anand Persaud that the action filed by Hughes will be defended. He said the news items constituted fair comment on a matter of public importance pertaining to a senior government official. He said that the question of whether Hughes was in breach of the Integrity Act was not to be determined by her but by the institutions which have been established to preside in these areas. He said Hughes’ recourse to the courts would be seen as an attempt to limit freedom of expression and the right of the media to investigate matters pertaining to senior government officials. In her claim, Hughes is also seeking exemplary damages. She said in the claim that the publication of the words complained of has gravely injured her reputation. In addition, she alleged that the publication “was deliberately calculated and intended to harm the claimant. The said publication was deliberately contrived to abuse the freedom of the press to the detriment of the claimant”.In a statement on Monday, Hughes denied that she was in breach of the Integrity Commission Act.