Hiplife sensation Michael Owusu Addo, popularly known as Sarkodie, made a notable appearance at the Supreme Court today in opposition to a case challenging a guideline set forth by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA). This guideline prohibits the use of celebrities and well-known personalities in advertising alcoholic products. The case, initiated by Mark Darlington Osae, the manager of Hiplife artists Reggie ‘N’ Bollie and Skrewfaze, contends that the FDA’s guideline is unconstitutional, violating the right against discrimination as outlined in Article 17 of the 1992 Constitution.
Article 17(1) of the Constitution asserts equality before the law, while Article 17(2) prohibits discrimination based on various grounds. The case was scheduled for a seven-member panel of the apex court, but an adjournment was granted, postponing proceedings to January 17. Sarkodie, accompanied by the plaintiff’s lawyer Bobby Banson, actively participated in the court appearance.
The contested guideline, 3.2.10 of the Guidelines for the Advertisement of Foods, was published by the FDA on February 1, 2016, stating, “No well-known personality or professional shall be used in alcoholic beverage advertising.” The FDA argues that this guideline is necessary to prevent minors from being influenced by celebrities to consume alcohol. Osae, Chairman and Co-Founder of Ghana Music Alliance, filed the case in November last year, seeking a declaration of unconstitutionality for the guideline. He asserts that it is inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of equality before the law and requests the nullification of the guideline. The court is set to deliberate on the constitutional matter in the upcoming hearing.