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‘Court ruling stifles Press freedom’

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The Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) has reportedly condemned a recent court ruling allowing companies to sue newspapers for loss of business incurred directly as a result of publication of reports deemed negative to the country.

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

The move followed a High Court ruling upholding an application by Vakakora Capital (Pvt) Limited, a private company, threatening to sue NewsDay and The Daily News for publishing reports that there was an upsurge of political violence in the country.

Vakakora claims the reports published in May last year resulted in the company losing potential business worth $250 million
after its foreign partners pulled out of the deal citing political insecurity.

NewsDay is reliably informed that following the court ruling, the ZMC commissioners attending a meeting in Kadoma recently condemned the move as retrogressive and bent on stifling media freedom. Although ZMC chairperson Godfrey Majonga yesterday denied that the matter had been discussed in Kadoma, a ZMC commissioner, who declined to be named, said: “The decision was condemned when we held a meeting in Kadoma two weeks ago. We resolved that the ruling will affect the work of journalists.

It was after the judgment was passed that as ZMC we looked at it and said such a ruling will stifle Press freedom.That decision was not fair as some people who would have failed will just come and say we lost such a deal because of the reports from newspapers and that stifles press freedom.”

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