Spooner has accused the Times of Zambia of running series of articles which he says are libelous, derogatory, and defamatory to his character.
Spooner’s letter of compliant to the Times of Zambia is reproduced below:
The managing editor
The Times Of Zambia
6th July 2010
C/o Chachacha Backpackers Lodge,
REF: LETTER OF COMPLAINT
I write in reference to articles published in ‘The Times of Zambia’ on Monday June 28 and on Monday July 5th respectively.
I can also draw your attention to the article published on Thursday June 24.
My complaint concerns the manner in which the named stories were written regarding the ongoing debate on who should have custody of the children between my ex partner Zanetta Nyendwa and I.
I wish to state that I feel injured by the articles because they do not take into consideration my views on the matter named above. This is against the ethical requirements of journalism which demands the need for journalists to be fair and ensure that their stories are balanced.
Your ‘columnist’ reporter Ms Janet Ilunga has a moral and ethical duty to report fair and balanced reports, especially when they involve such a sensitive issue such as the custody and welfare of children.
The stories that have been reported by Ms Ilunga on June 28 & July 5 have not been objective as her comments have not been based on comments from both sides.
I have to say from the outset, that the report published on Thursday June 24 was an extremely good article, it stated simply the facts of the matter of the Judgment from the Supreme Court, as well as some of the events leading up to the Ruling. Even there, there was some misrepresentation but perhaps the reporter could be forgiven as she may not have had all the facts at hand.
However, it is the reports published on June 28 & July 5 that my complaint is in reference to!.. And it is in these publications that Ms Ilunga has misrepresented the truth and distorted the facts.
The articles state that I have on several attempts tried to abduct my children, which is not true. On January 12 2009 I was granted an Order from the High Court of Zambia allowing the return of my children back to the jurisdiction of England, and I was prevented from leaving Zambia with them the following day even though I was armed with this, the only valid Court Order at the time.
Ms Ilunga ought to have consulted with myself in order to establish a true account of the story she reported on.
Unfortunately, the stories referred to have grave misrepresentations, and as a result have had the effect of giving the general public a biased view of the debate on the custody of our children. The articles feature Ms Zanetta Nyendwa and Mrs Rosanna Price-Nyendwa.
The report is libelous, derogatory, and is a deformation of my character, it has had a very harmful effect of distorting the truth which I feel has discredited me and made the public view me in a negative way.
Furthermore, your article of July 5 is not balanced as your reporter Ms Ilunga has not even consulted with me to take a statement of my account. She simply lifted some reports published by other media.
The articles have had the effect of suggesting that these other media are my side of the story when they have simply reported the issue of international parental child abduction of my children. I really feel injured by these articles because I love my children and am only seeking the best way to raise them but I feel my rights as a father are somewhat overshadowed by these reports as we seek ways to settle the issue of custody.
It is extremely sad and unfortunate that your newspaper has gone ahead with the aforementioned publications without any consultations with myself, and as a result I will be handing over this matter to my lawyer as well as copying MISA and other media about these unethical reports.
I would expect a response from your newspaper as soon as possible in order to bring a resolution to my complaint.