Home » Legal and Judicial Affairs » Zimpapers Seeks Nullification of Criminal Defamation Law [press release]

The state-controlled Zimpapers on 17 March 2015 filed an application with the Constitutional Court seeking an order for the removal of criminal defamation from the country’s statute books.

According to The Herald of 18 March 2015, the matter was filed on behalf of the state media company by its lawyer Mr Terence Hussein. Herald editor, Ceasar Zvayi, on behalf of Zimpapers, says that Section 96 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23), is unjustified in a democratic society.

Zvayi argues that the section in question violates the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the media enshrined in section 61 of the Constitution and should thus be struck off.

The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is also the Vice President of Zimbabwe, Attorney General Prince Machaya, and Prosecutor General Mr Johannes Tomana are the respondents.

Background

The Zimpapers application comes hard on the heels of a constitutional court application by MISA Zimbabwe and three other applicants filed on 25 February 2015, in which it is seeking an order declaring section 96 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23) unconstitutional under the current constitution.

In this application, MISA Zimbabwe is the first applicant while journalists Nqaba Matshazi, Sydney Saize and Godwin Mangudya, are the second, third and fourth respective applicants in the matter. The fifth applicant is Roger Deane Stringer an independent publishing consultant.

On the other hand also on the 25th of February 2015, the constitutional court gave the state 30 days to file their arguments on the validity of the same law in a matter involving Zimbabwe Football Association CEO Mr Jonathan Mashingaidze.

Source : Media Institute of Southern Africa

Archives