5 May 2007

Tanzania: 'Amazing Race' Leaves Behind Law Suit

Arusha — Not often does the giant American broadcasting corporation CBS cover Arusha, but when it stopped by in 2004 at the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) it left behind a US Dollars 2 million civil suit.

CBS Broadcasting Inc. based in Los Angeles in California were on a tour of filming their popular documentary "The Amazing Race," only to discover later that what they did at KIA attracted among others, a civil case.

A resident of Arusha, Stella Mwanyika claims that her right to privacy was infringed during the filming of "The Amazing Race" sometime in 2004. Through her advocates, Maira and Company Advocates of Dar es Salaam and W. A. L. Mirambo and Company Advocates of Arusha, Ms Mwanyika, the Plaintiff, is claiming damages amounting to about US Dollars 2 million.

According to a plaint filed at the High Court of Tanzania, Arusha District Registry and labeled Civil Case No. 7 of 2006 the defendant had "without any lawful cause infringed the fundamental human rights of the Plaintiff." The Plaintiff is employed as a ground hostess at KIA.

Particulars of the submission include: Taking her photographs without her consent and against her will and amidst her protest; publishing the said photographs without her consent and against her will; and broadcasting the documentary "The Amazing Race" without her consent or knowledge.

"By reason of matters aforesaid, the Plaintiff has suffered loss and damage to feelings and dignity and likely to suffer further loss and damage," the plaint reads.

Apart from special and general damages, the Plaintiff is claiming aggravated and exemplary damages in view of "the fact that the Defendants gained profits from the said publishing and broadcasting worldwide."

The plaintiff also prays for an injunction to restrain the Defendants from broadcasting the programme known as "The Amazing Race".

But to the Defendant, the inclusion of Ms Mwanyika's images in the program did not constitute a valid cause of action against CBS.

Responding on behalf of CBS, REX Attorneys of Dar es Salaam (Merging Maajar, Rwechungura, Nguluma {Advocates} & Epitome Advocates) the attorneys claim that, "the raw footage we have reviewed does not include your client's refusal to be tapped.

"Instead, it shows her staring directly into the lens of at least one of the production crew's very large and visible cameras without any objection and also smiling and acknowledging the camera.

"She among other things, asked whether she could get a copy of the tape for herself ... all of which amount to a very clear implicit consent for the program to tape and use her image."

Accordingly, the attorneys concluded, CBS will not agree to meet the demand to pay "your client" that amount of money. Hearing of the case is scheduled for May 31, this year.

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