THE hearing by the High Court of the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) application to be deemed registered after an earlier judgment declaring th
e Media and Information Commission (MIC) biased is expected to kick off on Monday.
The case was supposed to start yesterday.
High Court judge Anne-Marie Gowora moved it to next week after MIC lawyer Mercy Chizodza said she needed to take instructions from the media regulatory body on some issues.
The lawyer said the issues included ANZ’s intention to amend the order sought to include an alternative one requiring that they be allowed to publish pending the application for registration.
“We would be prejudiced if we are to proceed today. I am comfortable with a longer period — Monday,” said Chizodza.
Earlier this year the High Court ruled that the MIC was compromised by bias from hearing the ANZ’s case.
The late Information minister Tichaona Jokonya made a filing in the court, saying he was unable to appoint another committee in line with a court judgment as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act did not provide for that. He said the Act should be amended first.
However, in response the ANZ said the minister was able to appoint the committee because the MIC in its present form constituted an ad hoc committee appointed for a six-month term after the expiry of its three years in office.
“I do not accept that second respondent is disabled from appointing another membership of the first respondent ad hoc or otherwise to deal with this matter,” said John Gambanga, the ANZ’s acting chief executive, in court papers. “Effectively the current membership of the first respondent is ad hoc in that its term of office has in fact expired and was only extended for a limited period.”
Gambanga said government and MIC’s conduct had led him to conclude that they wanted to ensure that “the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday are never printed and published in Zimbabwe again”.
The two papers were banned by the MIC in 2003.