Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and Zimbabwe Papers have been convicted of impartiality in a landmark case brought to the court by Human Rights Civic Organisation being represented by Zimbabwean lawyer Douglas Coltart.
In a verdict passed down on the 19th of June 2019 by Justice Mufurisi in Masvingo High Court the national broadcasters have been ordered to stop being subjective.The media houses were ordered to be objective when reporting as the fourth state as they had to play the watchdog role.
The giant media houses were ordered to follow and act on Constitution Section 61 which states the media houses should be objective and impartial and it was their responsibility when reporting and conveying news.
“The first and second respondents are hereby ordered and directed to exercise independence in the editorial content of their broadcast or other communication; and to afford of divergent views and dissenting opinions by ensuring that their communications do not show bias in favor of other political party or its candidate against the others,
“It is hereby declared that the first and second respondents have conducted themselves in material breach of s61 of the Constitution that they have not been impartial…and they have not afforded fair opportunity for the presentation of divergent views and dissenting of opinions,”
Of late ZBC and Zimpapers have been subjective and reporting in favour of the ruling Government. During the Presidential elections period Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC-A) did not get a chance to campaign on ZBC.
Zimbabwean human rights lawyer David Coltart was proud of his son Douglas Coltart for winning a landmark case after defeating Zimpapers and ZBC.
“It is hard to convey adequately the deep sense of satisfaction & pride when your son successfully argues a major Constitutional point to compel State owned media houses to be impartial.Amhlope,”said Coltart