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High Court lifts ban on documentary


The High Court in Harare last week lifted the ban imposed by the government on the screening of Democrats, a documentary film narrating the Constitution-making process in the country.


Upfront Film’s lawyers, Chris Mhike and Bellinda Chinowawa from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, had filed a High Court application challenging the ban, which was imposed in 2015.

Justice Esther Muremba last Thursday ruled in favour of Upfront Films, lifting the ban, which had been imposed by the Board of Censors and granted a consent order and ordered the board to issue an unconditional certificate, which authorises Upfront Films to distribute and exhibit the film Democrats to members of the public.

Upfront Films is a leading film company based in Denmark, which produced the documentary, but the Board of Censors claimed the production was unfit for viewership in Zimbabwe. This was after the company had sought permission from the Board of Censors to distribute copies of digital video discs (DVD)s of the documentary film Democrats, which documented a crucial era in Zimbabwe’s history.

But the Board of Censors turned down Upfront Film’s application for the distribution of free copies of Democrats. This compelled the company to file an application in the High Court challenging the ban.

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