National newspaper publishes formal apology and pays out £10,000 legal costs.
In August 2000 The Independent newspaper published an article in which false allegations were made against the UCKG and its founder, Bishop Macedo. The article claimed, in an extremely denigrating tone, that the UCKG had links with the Colombian drug trade and that the Bishop had been in prison for fraud.
Bishop Renato Cardoso, responsible for the UK church at the time, felt strongly about those false allegations and decided to take legal action against The Independent.
“The article was so plainly wrong and misleading, we couldn’t just let it be. Our name and reputation suffered severe damage since the article inferred that the UCKG and those who ran it were associated with criminals and crime,” said the Bishop.
The newspaper accepted that the impression the article had given was wrong and that it owed the Bishop an apology. It paid legal costs of £10,000.
Bishop Renato Cardoso feels that both he and the church have been vindicated.
“This victory proves once again that people shouldn’t always believe what they read in the papers, especially when it comes to UCKG. ‘It confirms that the Church and its leaders were smeared. Those behind the article paid little regard to the truth, reporting untrue allegations as if they were facts. The result was to harm the work of the Church.”
The success of the case will also be of some comfort to UCKG members who feel that their church has been put down by one-sided reports in the press.
A church member in Finsbury Park welcomed the news: “I am delighted that they had to pay for their mistake. I think we should take them all to court and make them pay for the damage they cause us with their lies.”
The Church is also considering taking legal action against other newspapers for defamatory reports they have published.
The good side
Notwithstanding the importance that UCKG attaches to defending the reputation of its members, Bishop Cardoso wishes to remind church members of the words of the Lord:
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
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