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on MDC-T's intention to sue the Zimbabwe Independent
Media Council of Zimbabwe
January 30, 2013
Media Council of Zimbabwe notes with regret the reported threat
to sue the Zimbabwe Independent by the MDC-T Secretary General and
National Organizing Secretary Mr. Tendai Biti and Mr. Nelson Chamisa,
While it remains
the legal right of these two leaders of the MDC-T to do so, it is
unfortunate that they have joined the undemocratic tendency by politicians
and influential people in Zimbabwean society to issue veiled threats
against the media. It is a tendency that has in general led to the
arrests of many media professionals for merely doing their work
in the public interest. It is also a habit that has regrettably
led to an unfortunate and repressive but broad culture of criminalizing
freedom of expression and media freedom in Zimbabwe.
Where and when
public figures such as Mr Biti or Mr. Chamisa feel aggrieved by
a media story, there are mechanisms through which they can seek
fair redress from media houses and publications. In this particular
case, they have the option of seeking a right of reply with the
editor of the Zimbabwe Independent or alternatively to pursue the
matter with the ombudsman of Alpha Media Holdings, the parent company
of the same paper.
They also have
the option of pursuing the matter with the Media Complaints Committee
of the VMCZ for further arbitration at no legal cost to themselves
nor with the threat of the arrest or cumbersome lawsuits of media
professionals. These are processes that are designed to promote
media ethics and professionalism in the interest of fairness, public
accountability of both the media and policy makers/public figures.
All of this, without pursuing the undemocratic path of criminalization
of the press or debilitating lawsuits against the same.
the VMCZ fact
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