A Togolese newspaper, Golfe Info, has been fined 80 million FCFA in damages to be paid to Togo's national information Agency (ANR), cited wrongly as the source of information regarding a case of drug trafficking last September, according to the verdict issued on Wednesday by a tribunal in Lome.
The court also sentenced the newspaper, one of the most critical of the government, to pay a FCFA 1.5 million in accordance with the Press and Communication Code.
In addition, the newspaper, which appears three times a week, is banned from publication for two months from Wednesday, with the obligation to publish a rejoinder a week after its resumption of publication.
The sentence follows a complaint lodged by ANR, which accused Golfe Info of citing it as the source which informed the newspaper that a presenter at Togolese television (TVT), Eugene Attigan, who was arrested for drug trafficking last September, had a diplomatic passport for acting as a représentative of the Presidential Palace. It also claimed that the TV presenter would be representing Mey Gnassingbe, the half-brother of president Faure Gnassingbe in a mission.
The newspaper is blamed for falsely making allegations and imputing facts aimed at undermining the honour or respect of individuals or bodies they belong to. The article was published on 30 September 2009.