Ghanaian actor George Quaye, has expressed optimism in getting a favourable verdict from the Supreme Court (SC) on April 10 over the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA)’s ban on celebrities endorsing alcoholic products.
His optimism grew after the SC decided a date for the verdict during its sitting on Wednesday, January 17, 2024.
In an interview with the media after the court’s sitting, the Chief Executive of Image Bureau said after a favourable result, advertisement guidelines will be drafted with the help of the FDA to ensure children are not pushed into alcoholism.
“We are hopeful and pray it goes in our favour and at the end of the day we can all sit with the FDA and jaw-jaw and find a way that even if celebrities endorse alcoholic products, it will still go in a way that children will be protected or those celebrities will find ways to talk to those children.”
He noted that the revenue they make from these deals goes a long way to sustain them and their families as well as the country in the long run.
“We are just being hopeful that they would hear us because this is an industry that doesn’t just thrive on the works we put out there. These collaborations with corporate institutions and some of these endorsement deals are what keep us moving.
“And it’s not like when these monies come into the space celebrities keep themselves. They reinvest in the industry by employing other people and investing in other initiatives. At the end of the day, it inures to the benefit of Ghana.”
The FDA banned celebrities from endorsing alcoholic beverages in 2015 after World Health Organization (WHO) research showed that alcohol-related diseases among children are surging and attributed it to the continuous involvement of celebrities in the advertisement of alcoholic beverages.
The policy generated concerns among celebrities who felt affected.
As some celebrities- including Wendy Shay, Shatta Wale, Brother Sammy, Kuami Eugene, and Camidoh- argued that the ban robs them of their income and discriminates against the creative arts industry. One opposing Ghanaian called Labram M. Musah backed the FDA’s justification for the ban.
“A song released by a celebrity musician would take only a few minutes for almost every kid to start singing along. This is why I am of the view that a celebrity advertising an alcoholic beverage would be seen as a good example by children and young people, and the (tautology) result is obvious.
“Ghanaian celebrities should use their popularity to promote health and wellbeing and positivity, but not things that would lead to their own destruction and that of our children. Why would anyone want to expose our children to a product that affects almost every aspect of human life – alcohol consumption leads to cancer, heart failure, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes, and stroke, among others, including domestic violence, road crashes and abject poverty,” he said in a statement.
Mark Darlington Osae, the manager of Reggie ‘N’ Bollie and Skrewfaze, dragged the FDA and Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame to court in 2022, arguing the ban is discriminatory, inconsistent with and in contravention of Articles 17(1) and 17 (2) of the 1992 Constitution which guarantee equality before the law and prohibits discrimination against persons on grounds of social or economic status, occupation, among others.
In his writ, he argued that the ban is unconstitutional.