Blogger risks jail term in UK for defaming Olukoya, MFM general overseer

The Queens Bench Division of a UK high court of justice has threatened to jail Maureen Badejo, a UK-based blogger, if she fails to obey an existing court judgement against her in favour of Daniel Olukoya, general overseer of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM).

In an order titled ‘Notice to the Defendant’, the court gave Badejo up till November 4, 2021, to obey the judgement or be found guilty of contempt and risk being sent to prison.

The court had, on October 22, ordered Badejo to pay the sum of £65,000 to the general overseer and £35,000 to his wife Olukoya as damages over defamatory publications.

The court had also ordered Badejo to publish a summary of the judgment across her social media channels for a period of 10 consecutive days as a corrective measure and as a means of ensuring that her “misguided and misinformed audience” get to know about the court’s decision.

The court had directed Jonathan Price, Olukoya’s counsel, to draft a two-page summary of the judgment for the blogger to post on her social media pages.

However, parties could not agree on the said draft.

Badejo said she could not publish a summary of the judgment on all 10 social media accounts identified by the complaint counsel.

The defendant said she should only be required to publish the summary of the judgment on two identified Facebook accounts and one YouTube channel.

She said the 800-word count summary exceeds what is allowed for Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, adding that she should not be required to publish the summary of the judgment on the social media platforms owned by Global Interdenominational Outreach UK (GIO TV), which is a registered company in the UK and is not a party to the claim.

But the claimants, in their response, said “with respect to Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, we would propose that the defendant publish the summary by posting on those accounts a link to the summary as published on her website and/or Facebook”.

Amanda Tipples, the judge, in her decision, held that “I do not consider it is reasonable under section 12(4) of the 2013 Act to order the defendant to publish the summary of the judgment on all 10 social media sites identified by the claimants and, in particular, on the Twitter and Instagram account identified and on the YouTube channel of GIO TV.”

The judge, however, directed Badejo to publish the judgement summary on some of her platforms which have large followership.

“The publication of the defendant’s videos on, for example, Gio TV’s Facebook attracted a substantial (133,878), as did the publication on the Facebook account of Gio TV Foundation (12,862). Further, at the hearing before me on 22 October, 2021, the defendant accepted these accounts were under her control, and she described them as ‘my channels’,” the judge said.

“It is, therefore, appropriate for the defendant to publish a summary of the judgment to the audience following those accounts, and also on GIO TV’s website and the other three social media accounts that she agreed to publish on in her version of the draft order.”

The notice added that the defendant may be found guilty of contempt of court and risks imprisonment or fine or her “assets may be seized” if she fails to obey the court order.

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