The Supreme Court has by a 5-2 majority decision dismissed Mark Darlington Osae’s suit against the Food and Drugs Authority’s (FDA) directives that banned celebrities from alcoholic advertisements as “not excessive and unreasonable.”

The panel of seven chaired by Chief Justice Gertrude Sackey Torkornoo said the directive does not contravene provisions in the Constitution.

With Justice Barbara Ackah Yensu and Justice Prof. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, dissenting, the Court said the full reasoning of the 5-2 majority would be ready by Friday, June 21, 2024.

The Food and Drugs Authority, (FDA), had issued a directive that placed a ban on celebrities from advertising for alcoholic beverages.

The FDA’s directives which barred the use of celebrities in plugging alcoholic beverages were aimed at protecting minors from being influenced by celebrities into alcoholism.

Mark Osae, the manager of Reggie ‘N’ Bollie and Skrewfaze dissatisfied with the directive issued a writ at the Supreme Court on November 11, 2022, saying the FDA’s 2015 regulations are discriminatory against the creative arts industry.

The plaintiff (Mark Darlington Osae), also a music publisher at Perfect Note Publishing, wants the Supreme Court to take down that regulation.

Mark Osae, who is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Ghana Music Alliance, said the FDA directive which ordered that, “no well-known personality or professional shall be used in alcoholic beverage advertising,” is inconsistent with and in contravention of articles 17(1) and 17 (2) of the 1992 Constitution.

He contended that Articles 17(1) and 17 (2) of the 1992 Constitution guarantee equality before the law and prohibit discrimination against persons on grounds of social or economic status, occupation, among others, and consequently null, void, and unenforceable.

Before the action was initiated at the Supreme Court, some of the stakeholders in the creative industry including, Wendy Shay, Shatta Wale, Brother Sammy, Kuami Eugene, and Camidoh, had all spoken against the law and had called on powers that be to repeal it.

The FDA’s directives discourage the use of celebrities in the promotion of alcoholic beverages via any medium.

This policy forms part of the efforts by the government of Ghana to protect children and young people from alcohol marketing.

However, the plaintiff ignores this reality and argues that the child protection measure would rob the entertainment industry of potential streams of income.

In the writ issued on November 11, 2022, the plaintiff, Mark Darlington Osae said those areas of the FDA’s 2015 regulations are tantamount to discrimination on grounds of economic status, and occupation among others.

The artist, manager, and music publisher is thus asking the Supreme Court to render unconstitutional the guidelines which stipulate that, “No well-known personality or professional shall be used in alcoholic beverage advertising.” Mr. Darlington Osae is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Ghana Music Alliance.

Source: Ghana/ Inusah