ZBC licence challenge deferred

HARARE - The Constitutional Court has deferred Harare West MDC MP Jessie Majome’s challenge to the constitutionality of paying ZBC licences.

Tazorora Musarurwa, the lawyer representing ZBC, yesterday said the matter could not proceed because one of the nine Constitutional Court judges was unavailable.

Majome is lodging the suit together with Musangano Lodge, Benard Wekare and African Open Media Initiative. The three are represented by Thabani Mpofu, while Ray Goba is appearing on behalf of Majome.

The matter has been deferred to October 15.

Majome approached the Constitutional Court seeking to enforce her rights after ZBC licence inspectors visited her home in July last year and demanded that she produce a TV licence within seven days.

Majome argued that she was not prepared to pay the licence because the public broadcaster was partial in its broadcasts, particularly regarding the coverage of events, positions and programmes of political parties operating in Zimbabwe on its television and radio stations.

“ZBC is openly biased towards the Zanu PF party which is led by President Robert Mugabe,” majome argued.

“The bias applies in its general reporting, news casting and programming. This bias towards Zanu PF is detrimental to other bonafide political parties, particularly MDC of which I am a senior member.”

She argued that the court should declare that non-compliance with sections 38 b2, 38c and 38d 1-4 of the Broadcasting Services Act does not constitute a criminal offence. She argued that those sections were unconstitutional.

“By virtue of partisan programming first respondent (ZBC) infringes section 58 (2) which guarantees my freedom of association,” she argued.

“ZBC compels me to associate with Zanu PF by forcing me to know and hear at least something about Zanu PF and its programmes and policies each and every time I watch ZTV or tune into any of its four radio stations.

“It is my right not to associate with Zanu PF but I am unwittingly forced to associate with it in this manner.

“I am also entitled to enjoy my right to watch television and even watch ZTV if I chose but I should be protected from first respondent’s sustained efforts to indoctrinate me with Zanu PF ideologies and mantra.”

She added: “Given my personal background, political involvement and persuasion as I have highlighted and ZBC bias towards Zanu PF, I submit that a law that compels me to pay ZBC for a television licence makes an unwilling and unwitting supporter of a political party which I am personally and officially opposed to.”

Comments (5)

True madam let zanupf supporters pay for their propaganda most zimbos do not watch or listen to that trash . hope the con court will rescue us .

ndozvo mhaiyo - 11 September 2014

The premise of Majome's argument is even diluted. ZBC should not force everyone to pay for a service they dont want. It is up to ZBC to restrict its service only to paying customers. Why should I be forced to pay for a service that I do not want?

Chris Nyamandi - 12 September 2014

Majome thank you very much for taking this monster to court. Surely ZBC is abusing us, it is not a state broadcast and therefore should be dealing with pf card carrying members for the licences.

taurai mukanya - 12 September 2014

ZBC should claim license fees from party members since they share the same ideology and it should be paid at their annual congress since all members would be present

julius - 12 September 2014

its not even fair for ZBC to continue asking for money for radio licenses when there are other players like Star FM and ZiFM which appear not to benefit anything from these license fees. i for instance only listen to Star FM and i will not pay ZTV licences unless the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe starts collecting these license fees.

tino - 12 September 2014

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