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Court still to rule on Aippa challenge

Staff Writers

THE Supreme Court judgement in the case between the Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe (Ijaz) and the Minister of State for Information Jonath

an Moyo has not been released three months after the court said it would be ready.

The journalists’ lawyer, Sternford Moyo, has written to the Supreme Court seeking an explanation for the late delivery of the judgement.

“In your letter of 13th March 2003, you indicated that judgement was not going to be ready for about a month or slightly over,” Moyo wrote to the Supreme Court registrar, Mrs Mazabane.

“As two and a half months have lapsed since your letter and the matter has been awaiting since November 1, 2002, we are seriously concerned that delay has gone beyond limits that we may be able to explain to our clients without your assistance.

“It is clearly in the interests of the administration of justice that we give to our client some form of explanation for the delay,” he said.

The Supreme Court has not yet responded to the letter.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, sitting with the full bench of the Supreme Court, reserved judgement on the matter last November.

Aippa was the first significant Act President Mugabe signed after his re-election in the 2002 presidential election.

Ijaz, in the constitutional suit, challenged the powers of the Media and Information Commission to compel journalists to register and clauses relating to the “abuse of journalistic privilege”, which include publishing what the government deems to be falsehoods. The Act is over-particular about the protection of personal privacy and makes it unnecessarily long for journalists to obtain information from public bodies, they say.

Since November the government has tabled amendments to Aippa to tighten the legislation and address issues raised in the constitutional case. The Bill went through parliament on Wednesday.

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