INFORMATION minister Tichaona Jokonya has said he stands by the Media and Information Commission’s decisions on the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), putting a damper on any hopes of ministerial intervention in the registration of the publis
her of the defunct Daily News.
In papers filed in the High Court this week, Jokonya also opposed ANZ’s earlier application to be deemed registered, arguing that the court did not have powers to grant the application.
ANZ, publishers of the banned Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday, went to court seeking an order to be deemed registered arguing that Jokonya and the Media and Information Commission (MIC) had failed to deal with their application for registration within a specified period.
Jokonya and the MIC are the first and second respondents in the case in which the ANZ said its application was supposed to be considered within a month of a February 8 judgement that found that the media body was disabled from considering the application on grounds of bias.
But in the papers filed on Monday Jokonya said he was unable to appoint another committee to preside over the ANZ case in line with the judgement as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) did not provide for that.
The minister added that the media law would need to be amended first. Jokonya also said he had confidence in the MIC and did not wish to remove any member from the commission as they had done nothing wrong and the move would set a bad precedent.
“The way forward would be an amendment of the Act so as to provide me with powers to appoint an ad hoc commission whenever a situation as in the instant case arises. To appoint such a commission without it being sanctioned by law would be ultra vires the Act and such a commission would be illegal,” said Jokonya.
He added that the ANZ had not given him adequate time to deal with the matter as their previous letters were sent to the wrong address. He said he only saw a letter dated March 10.
On the MIC, Jokonya said: “I submit that I still retain confidence in the entire membership of the first respondent and therefore I do not wish to remove it. I have no reason to invoke provisions of Section 40 (3) of Aippa as no member of the first respondent has done anything in respect of this matter which I consider to be in breach of the law.”
Documents filed by MIC chairperson Tafataona Mahoso said the court did not have the power to register the papers because doing so would be to “exercise administrative functions that are otherwise the privy of the respondents”.