Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) yesterday won a ruling in the Administrative Court following an application for an urgent hearing into the Media and Information C
ommission (MIC)’s decision to refuse to register it as a mass media service.
The court said the ANZ case was urgent and set the date for hearing as October 16. When the case opens, the court will determine whether or not the ANZ has been unfairly denied a licence by the MIC.
If it finds that the newspaper group has a case, the court will order the MIC to reconsider its decision. But the court has no power to set aside or nullify the MIC’s determination.
ANZ legal advisor Gugulethu Moyo said yesterday’s court ruling was a step in the right direction.
“The court ruled we have an urgent case and set down the date for hearing as October 16. We hope that this will be a move towards final victory,” Moyo said. “But the problem is that the court has no power to alter the MIC decision. That is why we believe this case is a constitutional matter that should be dealt with by the Supreme Court.”
Yesterday’s ruling was a dramatic recovery by the ANZ after it suffered a further setback on Wednesday following the High Court’s dismissal of its application for police to return its seized property.
The High Court rejected ANZ’s demand to compel the police to give back its computers and equipment that it said had been taken unlawfully using an improperly issued search warrant. The judge gave no reason for his decision. Moyo said the ANZ would study the judgement before deciding on whether or not to appeal.
ANZ, publishers of the Daily News and Daily News on Sunday, had last week challenged police claims that they had seized ANZ’s assets to use them as “exhibits” and to prevent the company from publishing illegally.
Meanwhile, police on Tuesday charged eight more ANZ journalists for operating without licences, bringing the number of those arraigned to 17. At least 45 journalists have been placed on the police’s wanted list.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) this week called for a boycott of state newspapers to protest against the closure of the ANZ. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said banning newspapers increased the “democratic deficit” in Zimbabwe.