Ugandan lawyer seeks injunction over blog posts on Facebook

Fred Muwema claims he is being defamed by a blogger called TVO who says he took bribes

Mr Justice Donald Binchy reserved judgment on the injunction application

Mr Justice Donald Binchy reserved judgment on the injunction application

 

A Ugandan lawyer wants the High Court to order Facebook Ireland to take down alleged defamatory postings about him from its service.

Fred Muwema claims he is being defamed in postings by a blogger called “TVO” who accuses him of accepting a 900 million Uganda shillings (€237,000) bribe.

He claims Facebook has a duty as publisher of the material to ensure it is removed .

Mr Muwema strongly denies both the bribe claim and another claim he was involved in a break-in at his own office.

His injunction application is being brought here because Ireland is Facebook’s headquarters for its service outside the US and Canada.

Facebook denies it has a duty to remove the material particularly in circumstances where much of it is available across the internet by simply googling “Muwema” and “bribe”.

Mr Justice Donald Binchy reserved judgment on the injunction application.

Reputation

Facebook had offered to provide the IP (internet protocol) address of the blogger but only after legal proceedings were taken. Mr Muwema had no choice but to bring the case because of Facebook’s attitude, counsel said.

It provides a service and that has to be, on occasions policed, and that is by the courts, he said. This was an extremely serious defamation and while Facebook may lose a user of its service whose page is taken down, that is the extent of damage to it.

Rossa Fanning BL, for Facebook, said there was something fanciful about the restraints sought by Mr Muewma in a context where 1.6 billion people are posting on Facebook daily and when, even if this page was taken down, another could open up ten seconds later.