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Govt bans 'unfit' constitution making documentary

by Thobekile Zhou
22 Mar 2016 at 13:25hrs | Views
The government Censorship Board has banned a documentary, Democrats that narrates the constitution making process in Zimbabwe.

The board alleged the film was unfit for viewership within the country.

The ban follows an application by Upfront Films to distribute the documentary.

The film features MDC-T secretary general Douglas Mwonzora and Zanu PF's Paul Mangwana, who were part of leaders of the constitution making team.

The board's acting secretary, Isaac Chiranganyika, in a letter dated 10 March 2016 highlighted that the censorship board had reviewed the Democrats documentary and recommended that its DVD remains banned and prohibited in Zimbabwe, arguing that it was not suitable for public showing.

MISA-Zimbabwe has condemned the move.

It said in a statement:

This is yet another testament to the continued flagrant violation of the country's constitution. Section 61 (1) (a) and (b), clearly provide for the right to seek, receive and communicate ideas and other information as well as freedom of artistic expression and scientific research and creativity. These provisions read together with Section 62, which explicitly guarantees "every Zimbabwe citizen or permanent resident" the right to access information are unambiguous on freedoms due to Zimbabweans. And nothing in the limitations clauses justifies the board's action. Although the report did not state which law the Censorship Board used to arrive at its decision, it can only be assumed that the regulator used its parent Act, the discredited Censorship and Entertainments Control Act.

The fact that the board has resorted to banning a documentary, which has been aired repeatedly by other media on satellite TV, from reaching the majority of Zimbabweans simply exposes authorities' paranoia of free flowing information and their fixation with entrenching uncritical discourse in the public domain. All of which, is nurtured by the retention of a raft of outdated laws that are in open conflict with the constitution.

It is for this reason that MISA-Zimbabwe continues to call for the urgent repeal of all laws that perpetuate the erosion of Zimbabweans' duly guaranteed rights to freedom of expression and access to information through diverse media of their choice. Those in office cannot continue to claim that the country is a constitutional democracy when their actions increasingly show complete disregard for constitutionalism.

Source - Byo24News