Supreme Court bans celebrities from advertising alcoholic beverages.

The Supreme Court has upheld a directive from the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) that prohibits celebrities from endorsing alcoholic beverages, concluding a highly publicized nineteen-month legal battle. Mark Darlington Osae, CEO of Black Kulcha Music, initiated the lawsuit, arguing that the FDA’s 2015 directive was discriminatory against the creative arts industry.

Chief Justice Gertrude Torkornoo delivered the ruling, emphasizing that the FDA directive does not contravene the constitution. The court’s decision was a 5-2 majority in favor of the FDA, which argued that the influential nature of celebrities could lead to increased alcohol consumption among minors if they were allowed to promote alcoholic beverages.

The FDA’s directive, established in 2015, aims to regulate alcohol consumption among Ghanaians by preventing well-known personalities and professionals from appearing in advertisements for alcoholic drinks. The rationale is that celebrity endorsements could encourage minors to consume alcohol, given the significant influence these public figures hold.

Mark Darlington Osae, who is also a music publisher and Chairman of the Ghana Music Alliance, filed a writ on November 11, 2022, claiming that the directive violated Articles 17(1) and 17(2) of the 1992 Constitution. These articles guarantee equality before the law and prohibit discrimination based on social or economic status, among other grounds. Osae argued that the directive was null, void, and unenforceable.

Prior to the lawsuit, various stakeholders in the creative industry, including artists like Wendy Shay, Shatta Wale, Brother Sammy, Kuami Eugene, and Camidoh, had voiced their opposition to the law. They argued that endorsements and advertisements for alcoholic beverages are among the few available income streams for them and that the law’s restrictions negatively impact their livelihoods. Despite these objections, the Supreme Court’s ruling means that celebrities and professionals in Ghana will remain barred from endorsing alcoholic drinks.

Read More: Advertisement and Sales of ENDS( vapes) announced illegal by the Food and Drugs Authority.

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