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UPDATE: MISA criminal defamation case postponed

24 Jul, 2015
Hearing in the constitutional application by MISA-Zimbabwe and four others seeking for an order declaring criminal defamation unconstitutional in terms of the new constitution, was on 22 July 2015 postponed to an unspecified date. This followed preliminary points that were raised by the Constitutional Court which both the applicants and respondents’ lawyers should address in their […]

Hearing in the constitutional application by MISA-Zimbabwe and four others seeking for an order declaring criminal defamation unconstitutional in terms of the new constitution, was on 22 July 2015 postponed to an unspecified date.

This followed preliminary points that were raised by the Constitutional Court which both the applicants and respondents’ lawyers should address in their supplementary heads of arguments before the court delves into the merits of the case.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku sitting with the full bench of the Constitutional Court, said the court should be addressed on the issue of locus standi (properly before the court) and in particular, on whether the matter is moot (unresolved)  or ripe for determination.

Secondly, the court also sought to be addressed on whether Section 96 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act remains valid despite its previous ruling in the case of the Nevanji Madanhire  & Nqaba Matshazi vs State.  In that case, the ConCourt ruled that criminal defamation was unconstitutional in terms of the old constitution.

In this constitutional application, MISA-Zimbabwe is arguing that Section 96 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23) is unconstitutional as it does not comply with Sections 61 and 62 of the new Constitution and should be struck off.

Sections 61 and 62 protect the right to freedom of expression, freedom of the media and access to information.

The Attorney-General Prince Machaya and the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs represented by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who are the respondents in the matter, are arguing for the retention of criminal defamation.

Background

In this matter, 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.

The Attorney-General Prince Machaya and the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs represented by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who are the respondents in the matter, are arguing for the retention of criminal defamation.

For any questions or comments, please contact:

Nyasha Nyakunu, Programmes Coordinator, MISA-Zimbabwe

84 McChlery Drive, Eastlea, Harare, Zimbabwe

Telefax: +263 4 776165/746838

Cell: +263 712 602 448

Email: misa@misazim.co.zw

Website: misa@misazim.com

Twitter: @misazimbabwe

Facebook: Misa Zimbabwe

 

About MISA

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.

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