Miss World Limited has brought an application for an urgent interdict against the Mail & Guardian stemming from two articles published on Friday.
The M&G reported the 2009 pageant will cost the City of Johannesburg at least R90-million — double the R45-million the city has publicised.
One of 112 contestants will be crowned Miss World on Saturday night at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand.
The M&G is in possession of an agreement signed by Graham Cooke of World Awards Limited and Lindiwe Mahlangu-Kwele, when she was still Mahlangu, the chief executive officer of Johannesburg Tourism Company (JTC), in October 2008.
In terms of the contract JTC agreed to pay a hosting fee of £6-million (about R73-million at the current exchange rate). The JTC will foot the bill for a host of logistical, travel and accommodation arrangements that will send the total soaring to at least R90-million.
The M&G also reported that one of the Miss World contestants belongs to an organisation directly linked to an American religious cult with a litany of child and sexual abuse scandals clouding its past.
Following her national coronation, Miss Indonesia, 23-year-old Kerenina Sunny Halim, admitted to the Jakarta Globe that she is a member of The Family International, a ‘non-governmental organisation” for which she did humanitarian work in Aceh after the Asian tsunami in 2004.
Miss World Limited believes it will suffer losses as a result of the fallout from the articles.
The M&G is opposing the action.
M&G editor Nic Dawes said the interdict was a ‘brazen attempt by an international corporation to intimidate the local press’s right to freedom of expression and its constitutional duty to report news in the public interest”.
An earlier version of this article said Cook owned Miss World Limited. Miss World Limited tells us this is not the case. The error is regretted.