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MISA files urgent COVID-19 court application

Court application, access to information, COVID-19 lockdown, Zimbabwe
10 Apr, 2020
MISA Zimbabwe has filed an urgent chamber application with the High Court seeking an order compelling the government to publish and disseminate information on the private and public testing and treatment centres allocated for dealing with COVID -19 cases.

MISA Zimbabwe has filed an urgent chamber application with the High Court seeking an order compelling the government to publish and disseminate with immediate effect information on the private and public testing and treatment centres at national, provincial and district hospitals allocated for dealing with COVID-19 cases.

In the application filed by lawyer Ms Rudo Magundani on 9 April 2020, the information should be published and distributed on all available platforms and in all local languages. The Minister of Health and Child Care, Obediah Moyo, and Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa, are cited as first and second respondents respectively.

In addition, the respondents should also disseminate, with immediate effect, comprehensive and adequate information regarding the availability and sufficiency of resources set aside to combat the COVID-19 virus including the available and required equipment and medical personnel.

MISA Zimbabwe says the matter is extremely urgent because the country is facing a pandemic and the number of confirmed cases are gradually increasing.

“The threat is current, ongoing and is real. As has already been shown in Zimbabwe and around the world, the virus is fatal and can be devastating.

“The matter concerns enforcement of a fundamental right provided for in the constitution. That the right looms large in the current pandemic is self-evident. Without adequate information it will be nearly impossible to fight this pandemic,” reads part of the application.

“Information can and will help save lives. Information is vital to people when enforcing the lockdown through the identification of hot zones. It is also critical in fundraising for resources in the event that the respondents are ill-equipped to fight this pandemic.”

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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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