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Supreme Court bans celebrities from endorsing and advertising alcoholic beverages

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The Supreme Court has ruled that celebrities cannot endorse or advertise alcoholic beverages. This brings an end to a highly publicized nineteen-month legal suit filed against the Food Drugs Authority by the CEO of Black Kulcha Music, Mark Darlington Osae.

Delivering an abridged version of the ruling at the apex court, Chief Justice, Gertrude Torkornoo, said the FDA’s directive does not contravene the constitution.

This means that well-known personalities or professionals are perpetually banned from appearing in advertisements that promote alcoholic drinks.

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) in 2015 enforced a directive meant to regulate the use of alcohol among Ghanaians. Aspects of their guidelines prevent celebrities from advertising for alcoholic beverages.

The Authority had explained that due to the influential nature of these showbiz personalities, alcoholic advertisements they are involved in could push minors into alcoholism.

On November 11, 2022, Mark Darlington Osae, the manager of Reggie ‘N’ Bollie and Skrewfaze, filed a writ at the Supreme Court, describing the FDA’s 2015 regulations against alcoholic advertisement by celebrities as discriminatory against the creative arts industry.

The writ indicates that the FDA directive which orders 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.

Representing the plaintiff Mark Darlington Osae, was Bobby Banson from the Robert Smith Law Group, while the Food and Drugs Authority was represented by Justine Amenuvor.

After the ruling today, the FDA Director for Legal and Corporate Affairs, Joseph Bennie in an interview with journalists said the FDA is available to further discuss with the reps of the celebrities on the way forward.

Ofoli Yartey who represented the Plaintiffs said although they do not agree with the outcome, they will accept it.

The full ruling is expected to be made public on Friday June 21.

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